Odisha, which drew a blank in the last fiscal in auctions of mineral blocks, has revived the process with the issue of a Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) for seven blocks- five freehold deposits and two chromite blocks lapsing by March 31, 2020.
The state directorate of mines has invited financial and technical bids in respect of four limestone blocks- Pipalmunda, Khatkurbahal (North), Behera Banjipali andn Garramura, one graphite block- Jagdalpur and two lapsable chromite deposits- Saruabil and Kamarda. Presently, the chromite blocks are under the leasehold of B C Mohanty and Misrilall Mines, both merchant miners with their leases headed for expiry by March 31, 2020. Both the chromite blocks are being auctioned without end use reservation.
The deadline for the purchase of the tender document is September 11. Participants can submit their bids latest by September 20.
The eight blocks, between them, have 144.58 million tonne reserves with the estimated resources valued at Rs 21,773.21 crore.
In this fiscal, Odisha is planning to auction 40 mineral blocks - 16 merchant and 24 new mines - online. The 16 merchant mines have an approved capacity to produce 79 million tonnes of iron ore per annum. As their leases are set to expire by March 31, 2020, there are concerns of a raw material crunch that might stalk end user industries, especially the non-integrated steel producers which are operating without captive mines. The lapsing of these mine leases will knock off 55-60 million tonnes of iron ore supplies from the open market.