10 mining firms sign lease deeds with govt

Bhubaneswar: A day after the State government warned of taking ‘alternative steps’ if mining companies fail to sign fresh agreements within 90 days, as many as 10 firms today singed supplementary lease deeds with the government, prompting an extreme possibility for the remaining firms to follow suit in the coming days.

Official sources said 10 mining lease-holders under Koida circle of Sudargarh district signed the much required agreement with the government.

A Mines official said on the condition of anonymity that some more lessees under Joda mining circle of Keonjhar district are expected to seal the deed with the department.

Yesterday, talking to reporters on the issue, Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Mallick had said if the companies did not sign lease deeds, the State government would think of ‘alternative procedure’.

“We are certain that they (mines companies) will sign supplementary lease deeds as they will also benefit from resumption of mining activities,” he had said.

The State government had extended lease period of 26 mines in the first phase on April 18 and later agreed to allow operations of three more iron ore and manganese mines which were stopped following a Supreme Court judgment last year.

The lease period of 29 iron ore, manganese, limestone and dolomite mines were extended according to the provision of the MMDR (Amendment) Act, 2015, Mallick said.

However, the mines owners, reluctant to go for supplementary lease deeds in view of high payment, had moved the High Court.

The mine companies estimated that the stamp duty charges would be nearly Rs 10 crore for production of 1 million tonne of iron ore. However, they fell in line after the minister’s ultimatum.