The raw material insecurity for end use steel plants would end within six months as the auction of prospecting and mining leases for 199 mines is likely to be commenced soon by the states. In an interview to Priyadarshi Siddhanta, Union steel and mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar spells out his plans for the steel industry.
When would the auction for leases of iron ore and other mines begin? Are the state governments adequately prepared for the process?
We shall try to bid out the maximum number of identified (199) leases within the next six months. After the amendment of the Mining Act, the mines ministry has been helping the states to finalise the modalities for the bidding. Our officers are touring different states and are interacting with their senior mining officials for the same. I would convene a stock-taking meeting soon to assess the preparedness of these states.
In the case of coal, the bidders had prior knowledge of the mines to be auctioned. How would you ensure the same for the leases of mines to be bid out?
The Geological Survey of India is slated to upload 8,000 reports on exploration details of various mines, which include their estimated reserves and mineability. The prospective bidders are free to take an informed decision as to which mine they want to bid for. Transfer of lease has been simplified to attract exploration companies to carry out detailed exploration of minerals.
Given the efforts to boost the Make in India programme, has the Centre planned to help firms set up steel plants within their respective territories?
To implement the Make in India programme, the ministry is working on setting up four special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to establish one steel plant each in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Karnataka. These plants would have an annual output capacity of 3 million tonne (MT) each, which would be later ramped up to 6 MT each.
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