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SAIL gets green nod for Rs 4,700-cr Jharkhand Gua iron ore mine project

‘The project has been cleared,’ a highly-placed official in the Steel Ministry said.

SAIL had approached the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to secure forest clearance for diversion of 635.986 hectares of forest land in Durgaiburu lease of Gua iron ore mines located in Saranda forest area of Jharkhand.

It had received preliminary forest clearance for 274.691 hectares of Durgaiburu iron ore lease in August, 2012.

The mine has remained closed since June 2011 in absence of environment and forest clearance, hitting the iron ore production of the state-run company.

The Cabinet Committee on Investment in April last year had directed MoEF to seek information from the state government and clear the project within a month after getting the information.

Mining at the Gua mines had stopped in June 2011 due to expiry of approvals. Later, in April 2013, it resumed after a temporary work permit was granted by MoEF.

The Gua mine's expansion has been struck for quite some time for want of forest clearances though the mining and its expansion are crucial for SAIL's ongoing Rs 71,000 crore capacity expansion that would take its hot metal capacity to 23 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) from 14 MTPA now.

Following the expansion of the current phase, SAIL's iron ore requirement will almost double to 39 MTPA and Gua mines alone are estimated to provide around 25 per cent of that need.

SAIL plans to augment the capacity of the mine to 10 MTPA from existing 2.4 MTPA and set up a 12.5 MTPA beneficiation plant and 4 MTPA pellet plant with an investment of around Rs 4,700 crore.
SAIL Chairman C S Verma could not be reached for comments but a source in the company said that the state-run firm would immediately start working on the project with forest clearance in place now.

The mines, which supply ore to SAIL's steel plants in Burnpur and Durgapur (both in West Bengal), among others, were commissioned in 1958 and have estimated reserves of 142 million tonnes.
The nearly century old mines were originally alloted to IISCO's Burnpur plant. SAIL became its operator after merging IISCO with itself in 2006.
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