State-owned NMDC Ltd aims to produce about 45 million tonnes (MT) of iron ore during the next financial year as against the expected 35 million tonnes in the current fiscal, said a top official of the PSU. “Last year, we achieved 34.5 million tonnes of production. This year (FY18) the first two quarters were good. But unfortunately during the third quarter there was some problem in terms of rains affecting railway line. “That had taken away one-and-half months time. But still we are coping with the situation and the production levels are maintained,” N Baijendra Kumar, CMD of NMDC, told PTI. “We will be at par with that (output) for this year (FY18) if not exceeding it. We are aiming 37 MT for FY18, but we may up a little bit below…35 MT is a safe assumption. “We have to go up to 67 MT by 2022. For FY19, we are looking at 43-45 MT production. It again depends on factors like logistics,” Kumar said.
The CMD said he recently wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary of Odisha, requesting the state government to allot the mines that have stopped operations following a Supreme Court order over penalty issues. He said a high-level team comprising directors of NMDC NK Nanda and PK Satpathy recently met Odisha Chief Secretary AP Padhi to discuss the matter. “As a Navratna company we have responsibility towards the nation. With the closure of mines in Odisha, our assessment is that there may be a shortfall of around 20 MT per annum of iron ore. “This will be reflected from the last quarter of this this fiscal. We have necessary infrastructure with us for mining. We are interested to develop mines in Odisha, not with a profit motive but to overcome shortfall of ore,” he said.
Replying to a query, he said the steel plant that is coming up in Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh, may be commissioned by November this year. He said the state-run miner has spent about Rs 13,000 crore on the plant so far and expected to spend about Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 crore more to complete it. Kumar said they are requesting the Madhya Pradesh government to allot some diamond mines to NMDC on a nomination basis. “We have requested the Madhya Pradesh government to allot diamond mines on a nomination basis. If they call for bidding, we will participate. We have already involved in exploration in MP,” he added.
According to him, the PSU scaled-down diamond mining activities at Panna in MP due to issues related to wildlife protection and environment. Though the diamond mining capacity is pegged at about one lakh carat per annum, the company is producing 35,000 to 36,000 carat only, Kumar added.