Steel ministry pursuing Posco's green clearance case with MoEF

Lack of iron ore linkages impeding steel projects in Odisha

The Union steel ministry is pursuing the case of revalidation of environment clearance for the Posco project with the ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) in a bid to help expedite construction work for the project.

The delay in revalidation of environment clearance for the Posco project has put spanner in the start of work by the company though the Odisha government has completed land acquisition for the first phase of the project.

Asked about the revalidation of green clearance, Union steel secretary G Mohan Kumar said, "I'm not aware of the details but we are pursuing the matter with the MoEF."

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The 12 million tonne greenfield steel mill to be built at a cost of $12 billion and billed as the country's single biggest FDI, is awaiting swift nod from the MoEF. This is crucial since the state government has completed land buying of 2700 acres for the mega project, paving the way for the company to begin construction woark.

The MoEF had granted environment clearance (EC) to Posco for a four million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel plant in July 2007 with a five-year validity. Without revalidation of EC, Posco India would not be in a position to start construction work.

Posco India, in May 2012, had applied for revalidation of the original EC. The expert appraisal committee (EAC) under MoEF, recommended revalidation of the green clearance in its meeting held on June 14, 2012 since there was no change in the original 12 mtpa steel plant plan, to be set up in three phases over 4004 acres of land. Kumar held discussions with the Odisha chief secretary J K Mohapatra on hurdles faced by steel investors in the state.

"There are issues relating to raw material linkages that have delayed some steel projects. However, we are working with the state government to sort out these issues", he said.

JSPL that has already invested over Rs 18,000 crore on its six million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel plant at Angul, is awaiting action from the state government on renewal of memorandum of understanding (MoU) and grant of iron ore linkages.

The steel maker that recently commissioned its steel melting shop (SMS), is hopeful of achieving two mtpa steel capacity in a couple of months. The total project cost has been worked out at Rs 29288 crore.

Allotment of captive iron ore mines is also an issue for Essar Steel. The proponent has committed an investment of Rs 22587 crore on a six mpta steel facility and 12 mtpa pellet plant at Paradeep and also a 10.7 mtpa beneficiation plant at Dabuna.

First Published: Sep 29 2013 | 8:29 PM IST

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