Posco delinks mining from steel project, work to start early 2010

Written by fe Bureaus | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Aug 28 2009, 07:17am hrs
The South Korean steel major POSCO has changed its strategy in implementing the 12 million tonne steel project in Orissa. The company has delinked the mines from the project and decided to go ahead with the project construction instead of waiting for the mines to start the work.

POSCO-India has decided to delink mining from the steel plant project, said POSCO-India chairman, Dong Hae Lee. He said the project will be taken up first.

The civil construction work for the steel project will start from early next year," he announced. The legal barrier will be removed by the year end. The ground levelling work will be started from early next year," he elaborated.

POSCO-India had earlier asserted that unless the mines issue is settled it would not start the project work. As the state governments recommendation for prospecting licence to POSCO-India over 2500 hectares of Khandadhar iron ore mines in Sundergargh district was entangled in a series of legal battles, the company has decided to go ahead with the project construction.

The steel company is , meanwhile, gearing up to construct a major road which will provide the strategic link to the project site in Jagatsingpur district . The road which would double as a community road for the locals will engage over 1,500 people in the construction work. This would be the beginning of the POSCO-Indias entry into the project site.

In the wake of rumours that the company is shifting its project site from Orissa, Dong Hae Lee flew all the way from Seoul to meet chief minister Naveen Pantaik and assure him that there is no proposal to change the site. There is also no proposal to exclude Dhinkiathe village that is considered to be nerve centre of the anti-POSCO movement from the project site, he reportedly told the chief minister.

Of the 4004 acres required for the project, POSCO has been handed over about 600 acres of land by the state government. The company has received Stage-I forest clearance for the project.

Doubts were raised about the fate of POSCOs 12 million tonne per annum (MTPA) steel project, considered to be the biggest FDI in the country, as four years have passed since the MoU was signed in June 22, 2005.