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Orissa to scrap idle mine lease

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 8 (PTI): The Orissa government has decided to cancel lease of iron ore mines which remain un-utilised for more than two years.

Official sources said the government had identified at least 36 such mines in Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts which remained idle even though they were leased out for exploration.

“The government has directed the authorities concerned to immediately take steps and cancel the lease,” said steel and mines minister Padmanabha Behera, who reviewed mining activities in the two districts.

Behera said there was a huge demand for iron ore in the international market, but some people here were found sitting on valuable mineral. This was observed when others were unable to get mines for their captive use, he said.

Steel and mines secretary U. P. Singh said the objective of the government’s mine lease to private parties was value addition to the mineral available in the state.

“If someone was holding mines without making value addition, there is nothing wrong in cancelling such leases,” he said. He, however, did not reveal the names of companies which were holding iron ore mines for years. Behera said he has asked the director of mines to renew the lease of mines that worked satisfactorily.

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