SAIL gets conditional green nod for Chiria mines

| Updated on: Feb 09, 2011
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The Environment Ministry on Wednesday gave a conditional forest clearance to Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for mining iron ore from Chiria mines in Jharkhand.

SAIL had sought diversion of 595 hectares, about a fourth of Chiria mines, to carrying out mining of iron ore for 20 years.

Stating that “Chiria was essential for the future of SAIL,” the Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, stipulated some 13 specific conditions for granting the approval, which was against the recommendations of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC).

After Posco, clearance to SAIL's Chiria mines is the second such instance in the past fortnight, where Mr Ramesh has rejected the FAC recommendations.

The FAC had recommended to the Ministry not to grant clearance to SAIL as the Chiria mines were located in Saranda forests bordering Orissa and Jharkhand and were an important elephant habitat.

Among other conditions, the Ministry has stipulated that only mining and primary and secondary crushing would take place in the forest areas, while other activities such as processing and beneficiation should be done 15 km away in non-forest land.

Mining in the diverted area will be done in phases and SAIL will earmark at least 2 per cent of net profit for corporate social responsibility in the Chiria region that is affected by left wing extremism and is home to several tribal groups.

Stating that Chiria was the only compact deposit available for SAIL, Mr Ramesh said over the next 50 years, around 40 per cent of iron ore requirement of SAIL will be met from the Chiria mines.

The existing steel plants in Bokaro, Burnpur, Durgapur and Rourkela will necessarily have to be run from iron ore coming from Chiria once the mines feeding them are depleted in 10-12 years, he said.

Also SAIL has a Rs 18,000-crore follow-on offer on the anvil, 50 per cent of whose proceeds will accrue to the Government. “Thus, an early decision has to be taken without waiting for “perfect” information,” he said.

Published on November 25, 2017

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