Bhubaneswar: The Central sector mining major, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), has offered to the state government to operate the iron ore and manganese mines that were closed down for default in payment of the compensations.

The Odisha government has shut down mining operations of about 9 lease holders in the state following the Supreme Court directive to pay for the mining without environment clearances.

The NMDC CMD, N Baijendra Kumar, along with his director(technical) Dr.NK Nanda, and director (production) PK Sathpathy met the chief secretary AP Padhi on Thursday and discussed about  making the closed mines operational.

The CMD said that due to closure of several mines after the verdict of supreme court, there is dearth of iron which is affecting the steel industry and also the economy of the country. He offered that NMDC  is keen to make those mines operational for the interest of the state and the nation. In a similar crisis situation in Karnataka during 2010, NMDC was entrusted to take up mining activities by the supreme court.

Besides handing over the closed mines, the NMDC chairman also urged the state government for allotment of some non-captive mines in favour of the Central mining PSU.

“On one hand, its operation in the state would ensure uninterrupted iron ore supplies and on the other, it would set a benchmark of  ‘Sustainable Mining’ in the state, as evident from its operations in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.

NMDC made the following specific proposals to invest in Odisha:

  • NMDC is interested to develop and operate the iron ore leases in which operations have been stopped due to penalties levied by the supreme court.
  • Additionally it also requested for allotment of some other non-captive iron ore leases.
  • NMDC is interested to operate three mining leases of OMDC if the state governments desire. The union steel ministry has already requested the state government to consider the operation of OMDC leases by NMDC.
  • NMDC requested to allocate new leases under government dispensation route in which NMDC would conduct the exploration work and develop them into operating mines expeditiously with its experience of scientific and sustainable mining.
  • NMDC has also shown its interest to put up pellet and beneficiation plant in the state, for which allocation of low grade iron ore deposits are sought, this would maximise the utilisation and conservation of iron ore as NMDC is known for its eco-friendly and sustainable mining.