The Union Minister of Steel & Mines Shri Narendra Singh Tomar handed over the detailed exploration reports of 10 blocks of Jharkhand to Chief Minister Shri Raghubar Das in New Delhi. The reports, prepared as part of Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL)’s promotional exploration, include reports for 7 copper blocks and 3 gold blocks. Speaking at the occasion Shri Tomar said, “The MMDR Act was amended in January 2015 to harness the immense mining potential of mineral rich states like Jharkhand. It is now incumbent on us to expedite the process and realise its benefits.” Shri Tomar urged the Chief Minister and senior officials of the state and ministry, to focus on implementation and create visible change in the status of mining and the welfare of peripheral and tribal population. Shri Raghubar Das assured the Union Minister that the District Mineral Foundation will be constituted within a month’s time, and work for auctioning of mining leases will begin within the same time. Secretary Mines, Shri Balvinder Kumar, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Jharkhand Shri Sanjay Kumar, and other senior officials of Ministry of Mines, Jharkhand government & related PSUs also attended the meeting.
Prior to this, in January this year, Shri Tomar had provided Shri Radhubar Das with 14 regional exploration reports, comprising 12 for bauxite and 2 for gold, and 2 detailed exploration reports for limestone. Currently equipped with detailed exploration reports (of G1-G2 level) for 12 blocks, Jharkhand is in a position to start auctioning Mining Leases for these blocks. As for the regional exploration reports of 14 blocks, the state has an option to either go in for auctioning of leases for carrying out PL-cum-ML, or to go in for detailed exploration. CMD of MECL Dr Gopal Dhawan highlighted Jharkhand’s hidden potential in gold, and suggested that the state could begin auctioning of PL-cum-ML of the mineral since it is a non-notified one.
Shri Tomar offered the help of parastatal exploration agencies such as Geological Survey of India (GSI) and MECL in assisting the state in exploration work. Referring to the successful auctioning of coal blocks in recent past, Shri Tomar said that the state could utilise the expertise of MSTC Limited, a PSU under the Ministry of Steel, which had provided the digital platform to carry out the auctioning of coal blocks. CMD, MSTC Shri SK Tripathi expressed his willingness to visit the state at the earliest to prepare them for the process.
On June 28, Jharkhand govt signed a MoU with NMDC Limited for setting up a 6 million tonne per annum (MTPA) Integrated Steel Plant, through the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) route, in presence of the Prime Minister. While discussing about the requirements of the SPV, Shri Tomar intimated Shri Das that the steel plant will require 3,000 acres of land and an assured reserve of 200 MT of iron ore, preferably on allotment basis. Shri Das reaffirmed his commitment to set up the steel plant, so that the mineral wealth of the state leads to employment generation within the state itself. The ministers also asked PSUs working in Jharkhand to align their CSR intervention in accordance with the needs of the region.
The meeting further deliberated over issues concerning the renewal and extension of mining leases for Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). CM Jharkhand was apprised of the 50 MTPA expansion plan of SAIL, in line with which, the capacity of Bokaro Steel Plant in Jharkhand will be raised from the present level of 4.3 MTPA to 14.1 MTPA by 2025-26. The capacity expansion will require augmented supply of iron ore, and hence, urgent renewal/ extension of Gua and Chiria mines. Shri Tomar also discussed on the possibility of allowing sale of inferior grades of iron ore from SAIL mines in Jharkhand to small manufacturers, which would be mutually beneficial for both sides. Shri Raghubar Das welcomed all the suggestions and ensured prompt action from his office on all fronts.