Kolkata: Indian Chamber of Commerce organized its one of the flagship events, 9th India Minerals & Metals Forum. Some of the important issues addressed were Mid to Long term outlook for the Indian Mining and Steel Sector, Raw Material Supply Scenario & Trade Policy to encourage local manufacturing, Consumer Perspective: Power, Automobile, Iron Ore and Construction industry, Logistics issues & Financial Support post COVID19.
PK Rath, CMD Vizag Steel said that in the immediate future the survival strategy of all steel plans is to focus on cost reduction, improving utilization and margins, improving process efficiencies and yields. The steel industry is looking at increasing the usage of low cost slime in the Iron ore blend and increasing the usage of Indian coking coals in the in the coal blends.
VR Sharma, MD, JSPL spoke about the differential rate of interest with respect to rating of the companies, requesting for intervention to bridge the interest rate difference to below 0.5% for A+ vs BBB- firms which will allow 90% of the Indian firms to participate and contribute in the economy.
Minister of Steel & Mines, Government of Odisha, PK Mallik, shared that Odisha state has state has taken several initiatives to facilitate the industries, like introduction of the policy of Long term linkage of Iron ore, Chrome ore and other minerals to state based industries of Odisha through Odisha Mining Corporation Limited. In fact, over last five years, allotment of iron ore under this policy is about 40 million tonnes and another over 4 million tonnes of chromite. 24 nos. of working mines of iron, manganese and chromite ore in the State expired on 31.03.2020 which were contributing substantially to state’s mineral production. Odisha government relaxed the provisions of Rules permitting intermediate storage depots to the State based industries to create an inventory of raw material ahead of such expiry. These expired mines contributed about 58 million tonnes of iron ore last year, almost half of the State’s annual production besides manganese & chromite as well.
PK Mallik said, “We have successfully conducted the auction of all these blocks. And of these auctioned blocks, already 18 leases have been executed. In fact, the mining operations in respect of 7(seven) such leases have been commenced by the new lessees. The mines with validity beyond 31st March’2020 which are working at the capacity below the authorized limits have been advised to scale up the production. Instructions have been issued to examine the status of the non-working mines so as to facilitate resumption of mining operations as per law. To make more mining blocks up to the desired level of exploration so as to facilitate more auctions, exploration activities have been enhanced by outsourcing the drilling works besides getting Odisha Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (OMECL), a State PSU designated as exploration agency along with OMC to carry out exploration works in lines similar to GSI, Director of Geology and MECL etc; these agencies carry out exploration work without grant of prospecting licence.”
V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog said, “It is important to reduce the time of implementation from exploration to commercialization, need to enhance supply. Making steel without coke should be the focus of our country, secondary steel production capacity needs to increase and also export of iron ore should be such that it should not affect the raw material supply to the steel industry.”
The session was addressed by PK Mallik, Minister of Steel & Mines, Government of Odisha, VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog, Government of India, AK Shukla, CMD, Hindustan Copper Ltd, VR Sharma, Managing Director, JSPL, PK Rath, CMD, Vizag Steel, and Brij Bhushan Agarwal, Chairman, ICC National Expert Committee on Minerals & Metals.