By Odisha Story Bureau, Bhubaneswar:
Essar Steel said it hopes to commence mining from its captive iron ore block in Odisha in the first quarter of 2017-18. The steel maker recently bagged the Ghoraburhani-Sagasahi block in Odisha through auctions, quoting a premium of 44.35% above the reserve price and outbidding strong contenders like Tata Steel and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL).
“The iron ore mine that Essar Steel has bagged has reserves of 100 million tonne, as per the current estimates. We plan to mine around six million tonne per annum. We are in the process of seeking all approvals. This will take care of approximately 30% of the requirement of our integrated steel plant at Hazira,” a company spokesperson told Business Standard in an e-mail response.
The Odisha government has issued the letter of intent to Essar Steel after it emerged as the preferred bidder in the first iron ore block offered for e-auctions in Odisha. The block is at G2 exploration stage and located in Koira sector in Sundargarh district.
The mineral concession area is spread over 139.16 hectares (ha) including 20.88 ha forest land, 110.69 ha government land and the balance 7.58 ha private land. Survey of the mineral block has been done by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).
Currently, Essar Steel runs a 12 million tonne per annum (mtpa) iron ore beneficiation plant at Dabuna in Keonjhar district and six mtpa pelletisation complex at Paradeep. The iron ore mine in Odisha is expected to meet 50% of the firm’s pellet making facility at Paradeep.
“The pellets produced at our Odisha facility are meant primarily for use in our own 10 million tonne per annum integrated steel plant at Hazira. Any surpluses available are being considered for sale/exports,” said the spokesperson.
Both the pellet plants at Paradip and Visakhapatnam are now operational and ensure consistent supply of pellets to the Essar steel mill at Hazira.
Essar Steel’s flat steel production in the April-June period of this fiscal was 1.22 million tonne (mt), marking a growth of 48% over 0.824 mnt produced in the same period of last fiscal. Even pellet production grew by 58% to 2.02 mnt, as against 1.28 mnt in the comparable period of last year.
By the end of 2016-17, Essar Steel expects to record a marked increase in its capacity utilisation, and produce 80% of its rated capacity in the country.