Posco MoU: No decision yet on ore export, renewal by Jun-end

Bhubaneswar: Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty on Wednesday said the state government is hopeful of renewing the MoU with Posco India by June-end but a decision on the controversial iron export clause has not been taken yet.

When asked Mohanty said his department is examining whether to delete the provision.

"The renewed MoU with Posco-India will have retrospective effect. We are hopeful of renewing the MoU by end of June," he said.

While according final forest clearance for the Posco project on May 2, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in his order had said he was `deeply uncomfortable` with the provision of iron ore export in the MoU with Posco-India.

Ramesh had said he would expect the revised MoU (between the state and Posco) be negotiated in a such a manner that export of raw material is avoided.

The MoU, for establishing a 12 mtpa steel plant near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district signed on June 22, 2005, lapsed a year ago on June 21, 2010.

Chief Secretary B K Patnaik, however, said, "The Ministry of Commerce has no restriction on the export of iron ore."

The commerce department which deals with such matters has not raised any objection to the export clause, he said.

The Minister said that Posco had meanwhile agreed to include the state government`s job reservation provision in the new MoU. It would also have many important issues like water supply and mining lease.

Prior to renewing the MoU, the Orissa government has taken the views of departments like water resources, forest and environment, energy, transport and commerce.