The work on Rowghat iron ore mines of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in Chhattisgarh is likely to speed up as the state government has decided to constitute a high-powered core committee to explore measures for starting up the project.
The ambitious Rowghat iron ore mining project of SAIL in Kanker and Narayanpur districts had hit blockade following threats from the Naxalites. The left extremist group had a strong influence in the mines area and there presence was preventing the authorities to start the work.
The SAIL had bagged the mining lease of Rowghat deposit-F spread over 2028.79 hectares and has an estimated iron-ore reserve of 511 million tonne. The project is crucial for the SAIL as the raw material extracted from Rowghat will cater the need of its flagship entity—the Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP).
At present, BSP is getting iron ore from Dalli Rajhara where the reserve is reported to be fast depleting. According to SAIL officials, the remaining reserve would last for not more than three years. The mining project had been critical for the expansion project also. The expansion and modernisation plan of Bhilai will enhance the Plant's hot metal capacity from 4.08 to 7.5 MT while the crude steel capacity will go up to 7 MT from 3.92 MT.
The BSP had proposed to set up a 14 million tonne per annum (MTpA) mine in Rowghat and had planned to start operations in the Rowghat mines by 2014-15. But the project was getting delayed as contractors had failed to start the work for developing mines as Naxalites had threatened them. A few contractors had in fact started the work. But they soon abandoned when rebels struck and damaged the machines and equipment. Even railways that would lay rail lines had failed to start the work.