New Delhi: Tata Steel has resumed iron ore production from two of its four mines in Odisha, a move that may help the company overcome raw material shortages which forced it to buy from domestic as well as overseas markets.
“The company has resumed iron ore production from two of its four mines in Odisha after the state government allowed it to operate these,” said a source privy to the development.
The Odisha government, earlier this week had allowed the steel major to operate its four iron ore mines in the state till January 28 as per an interim order of the Odisha High Court.
Earlier, the state government had ordered Tata Steel to stop operations at four mines – Bamebari, Katamati, Joda East and Joda West – after the steel major failed to meet the November 15 deadline for forest and environment clearances.
Tata Steel has moved the high court and argued that its mines should not be shut as they were captive ones and suspension of work will lead to unemployment of a large number of workers, mostly tribals.
The company’s six iron ore mines were among the 26 mines which were asked to suspend mining operations in view of a Supreme Court order on May 16 this year.
In its interim order, the apex court had called for suspending operations of 26 iron ore and manganese mines in Odisha that were operating under the provisions of deemed extension.
The Supreme Court had held that such mines could not continue operations until the Odisha government passed express orders under relevant laws.
The state government issued express order allowing operations till January 28.
Facing iron ore crunch for the first time in its over 100 years of history, Tata Steel has now been operating its 9.7 million tonnes per annum facility in Jamshedpur with raw material bought from domestic sources besides imports.
The company, which has bought 2.3 million tonnes iron ore to run its lone steel-making facility in the country, said the quantum of buying would go up if its closed mines do not start production.
“For the first time in our history, we are running our plant with bought out iron ore as all our mines are closed.
There are issues with both Jharkhand and Odisha. We have court cases going on in both Ranchi and Cuttack High Courts,” Tata Steel Managing Director T V Narendran has said.
Tata Steel shares today closed at Rs 393.45 apiece, up 1.04 per cent, on the BSE.