SC asks Posco to approach Orissa govt for mines

New Delhi, Mar 28 | Updated: Mar 30 2008, 04:21am hrs
The Supreme Court on Friday asked South Korean steel major Posco to approach the Orissa government for allotting demarcated mining area for its proposed Rs 51,000 crore mega steel plant.

A special environmental bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan asked Posco India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Korea-based Posco, to approach the state to execute lease for a captive and demarcated mine.

However, it was not convinced with Poscos counsel Mukul Rohtagis argument that the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) had agreed to supply uninterrupted iron ore and other minerals for its 12 million tonne steel project.

There is a tie-up with OMC to give raw materials. The mines are not earmarked. This way the project will take 5 years to come up. The mines which have been identified are 300 km away from the project site, he said.

Senior counsel Harish Salve, who is assisting the court in the matter, said the Poscos huge plant would involve a large land as it would need huge quantity of raw material.

Salve cited the Vedanta Alumina case in Lanjigarh, Orissa, which also faced the problem of raw material after setting up the project. Despite being commissioned, the plant was idle for the past more than six months due to environmental clearance for its mine.

The Posco-Korea, while seeking permission to set up the mega steel plant and a captive port, said it had entered into an MoU on June 22, 2005 with the Orissa government for the steel plant at Paradeep.