State sets up panel to fix policy for ore supply to industry

Bhubaneswar: The state government on Tuesday set up a three-member Ministerial Committee for formulation of a policy to ensure smooth supply ore to state-based industries on a long-term basis.

The committee, according to the notification issued by the steel and mines department, would suggest measures for making iron ore, manganese, bauxite and chrome ore available to mineral based industries located in the state in a fair and equitable manner. This would be done through the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and other mining lessees to meet ore needs.

"The committee will also suggest modalities for making the ore available on a sustained basis to such industries through appropriate long term ore linkage arrangements," it said.

The committee would also suggest a framework for making ore available to local industries through a transparent process. The three-member Ministerial Committee headed by the Finance Minister, would submit its report within three months.

The Finance Minister would function as the chairman of the committee and the other members were the Minister Industries and Minister of State Steel and Mines (independent charge).

While three ministers have been named in the committee,they might invite any official or expert to help them to find a way to solve the problem apparently hitting the industrialisation process in the state, sources said.

The state government felt the necessity of setting up such a committee after the Vedanta Aluminium Limited was all set to shut down its 1 million tonnes per annum refinery project at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district due to shortage of bauxite ore.

The state government in a resolution in September decided to reserve the areas bearing iron ore, manganese, bauxite and chrome in the state for undertaking, prospecting or mining operation through OMC. These, however, exclude the areas already held under any prospecting licence or mining lease or reserved by the central government.

As the major portion of the ore produced in the state was raised from mining leases held by private mining lessees, the state government felt that its policy of value addition could be severely affected if the local industries faced scarcity of raw materials.