Low grade chrome ore lying within the lease hold area of Jindal Stainless Ltd (JSL) for about last 23 years, since the days the mine was operating under the ownership of Tata Steel, will be auctioned by the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) soon.
Sources said, this being low grade ore, it may fetch a rate of less than Rs 3,000 per tonne.
"In a recent auction conducted by OMC, chrome ore with 33 per cent grade sold at Rs 3,000 per tonne. Since the ore stacked at JSL area have less than 26 per cent chromium oxide, it should be priced between Rs 2,300 to Rs 2,800 per tonne,” said a government source without wishing to be named.Recently, the state government had directed the OMC, the Director of Mines and Deputy Director of Mines (DDM) of Jajpur road circle to initiate the auction process of about 6,000 tonne of low grade chrome ore, lying at a Jindal Stainless Ltd (JSL) mine.“I am directed to communicate the approval for conduct of further auction of balance quantity of 5,987 tonne of low grade chrome ore lying within Kaliapani chromite mines of JSL by OMC following due formalities. The sale proceeds thereon may be credited to the government account,” said the order of the steel and mines department.
These minerals were raised before 1989, when Tata Steel had the lease rights for the area. Tata’s almost monopolistic hold on the chrome bearing land was later dismantled on the basis of a Supreme Court order and a sizeable chunk of the area taken out of the control of the Tata Steel was distributed among four other users of the ore.
The state government has since been auctioning the leftover ore, primarily of low quality, lying in the erstwhile Tata mining area.
In a separate case, the government has asked JSL to deposit Rs 6 crore as penalty citing that the steel maker did not show the low grade chrome ore in its output list and hence is liable for punishment.
JSL has refused to pay the amount saying that about 10,000 tonnes of material, which the government claims to be lying unreported in its premises, are not actually low grade ore but rejected material of its beneficiation plant. Hence, it is not liable to pay any fine for avoiding payment of royalty, sales taxes and other dues.