Besides the 2.4-mtpa Durgaiburu mine, three smaller mines in the same complex have also been out of operation.

SAIL is trying to avert an iron ore crisis as its 2.4-million-tonnes-a-year Durgaiburu mine in Jharkhand remains closed for more than 20 months now. The country’s largest steel producer closed the mine on June 15, 2011 for want of environment clearance.

The oldest and largest mechanised (1,443 hectare) mine of the Gua complex in West Singhbhum district is also set for four-fold capacity expansion. SAIL Chairman C. S. Verma told Business Line that the company was expecting the clearance within a while.

The mine employs around 550 regular workers and about 500 contract labourers.

Three smaller mines in the same complex that belongs to SAIL – Jhillingburu-I (210 ha), Jhillingburu-II (36 ha) and Topailore (14 ha) – are also learnt to be out of operation for lack of a green signal from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

It is understood that the MoEF has kept Durgaiburu environment clearance (EC) on hold from January 27 last year as the forest clearance (FC) was not ready then. The MoEF gave its forest clearance on August 14, 2012. But the formal environmental clearance has not been yet been granted, sources said. Sources in the Ministry of Steel said that it took up the subject of the grant of forest and environment clearances on several occasions with the MoEF with respect to SAIL’s iron ore mines, including those in the Gua complex. “According to the MoEF norms, the forest clearance should automatically trigger the environmental clearance,” a senior Government official said.

SAIL’s Bolani mines in Keonjhar district remained closed for a month in (November-December 2012) for want of clearance.

jayanta.mallick@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 26, 2013)
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