POSCO to complete phase 1 of 8 mt steel project by 2018

Written by Dilip Bisoi | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Jan 18 2014, 00:59am hrs
The first phase of Posco Indias much-delayed $12-billion steel project at Paradip in Orissa, in which capacity for 4 million tonnes will be commissioned, would be completed by 2018, reports Dilip Bisoi in Bhubaneswar. The firm, which has put out a timeline for the project, said the revalidated environment clearances needed to be approved by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Thereafter, land filling activity would take 18 months and the construction of the steel plant another two years. Another year would be needed to test and commission the plant. The company says it will take three years to complete prospecting the iron ore mines, part of the Khandadhar project in Sundergarh district of Orissa. A Posco statement added the plant would arrange iron ore on its own till the captive mines became operational. The environmental clearance for the steel project have been revalidated by new environment minister M Veerappa Moily.

District collector Satya Kumar Mallik said 1,703 acres of land had been handed over and another 1,000 acres was ready to be given. Posco India, he said, had started construction of the boundary wall. The company requires 2,700 acres of land to start construction. Meanwhile, state steel and mines minister Rajani Kanta Singh said a fresh tripartite agreement would be signed between Posco India, its parent company Posco and the state government. The MoU for the $12-billion greenfield project, signed on June 22, 2005, had expired on June 21, 2010.

We have sought certain clarifications from the company before signing the pact, he said, adding that the issues could be sorted out across the table. Singh, however, said the project work could continue even without an agreement.

Poscos laying of the road map coincided with the visit of South Korean President Park Geun-hye to India that began on Thursday. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday after talks with Park of their combined resolve to speed up the South Korean majors much-delayed large-scale steel project, Indias single largest foreign direct investment project so far.

The Prime Minister had said on Thursday that the granting of mining concession to Posco India was in an advanced stage of processing.

Thereafter, it will require four years for commencement of first phase of mining operation which includes three years for obtaining forest and environmental clearances and processing the mining lease. The mining project would be fully operational in nine years after the prospective licence was granted in favour of the company.

Singh said that the state government had recommended a prospecting licence for 2,500 hectares of Khandadhar iron ore mines in Sundergarh district in favour of Posco India way back in 2009, invoking the provisions of Section 11(5) of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation & Development) (MMRD) Act. The state governments decision, however, was quashed by the Orissa High Court while disposing of a petition by Geomin Minerals, one of the applicants for the mines. The court directed the state government to heal all the 226 applicants for the mines before recommending for parity under the provision of Section 11(5) of the MMRD Act. However, the Supreme Court in May 2013 set aside the high court order and directed the central government to process the PL recommendation of the Orissa government. Following this, the Union mines ministry in July 2013 had sought certain clarification regarding the PL recommendations. The state government last week resubmitted the recommendations to the Union mines ministry, it is learnt.

According to state mines director Deepak Mohanty, the state government has provided the map of the proposed 2,500-hectare PL area along with the global positioning system survey report to the Centre.