In a bid to ensure uninterrupted supply of raw materials to industry in the state, the Orissa government today asked Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) to reserve 70 per cent of the iron ore and 80 per cent of the chromite ore excavated from its mines for local units.
This was decided at a high-level meeting chaired by State Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai and attended by Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty, besides other senior officials, including Chief Secretary B K Patnaik.
The meeting was held in the wake of certain industries expressing displeasure over the state government's inability to provide adequate raw materials to them, even as it exported the bulk of its mineral output to other states and abroad.
OMC, which has a total of 35 iron ore and chromite mines, will henceforth reserve 70 per cent of its iron ore lumps and 80 per cent of its chromite ore output for industries within the state, said Mohanty.
However, the state-owned company is still free to export 70 per cent of its output of iron ore fines to other states and even abroad, as the state's budding steel industry does not have the required technology for the use of the fines, Mohanty said.
Industrial units in the state -- mainly those producing sponge iron and cast iron -- recently met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and said they would go out of operation unless the government came to their rescue.
A proposed ban on the export of iron ore in view of the growing requirement of the steel industry in the state was also discussed at the meeting. The state has only 5,074.945 million tonnes of iron ore, half of which can be mined, they said.
However, no decision could be taken on the proposed ban at the meeting, Mohanty told PTI, while adding that the state government has given priority to its policy of value addition.
Mohanty also said most of OMC's mines were either closed or suspended after it failed to garner statutory clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.