Demand grows to extend lease of Garbham manganese mines to RINL
The steel plant is unable to meet the requirement of manganese ore from its own captive mine, and is forced to buy it in the open market by paying more
• AP govt renewed Kintada quartz lease, not Garbham manganese lease
• RINL has been asking the govt to extend the Garbham mining lease since 2017
• VSP is incurring heavy losses due to raw material scarcity and working capital crunch
Visakhapatnam: Even though the Andhra Pradesh government has renewed the quartz mining lease at Kintada in Anakapalle district to Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, it has not yet received an extension of the validity of the manganese ore mining lease at Garbham in Vizianagaram district.
VSP is forced to incur heavy losses as it has curtailed its production due to severe raw material scarcity and working capital crunch. NMDC which supplies iron ore from Kirandul and Bacheli mines in Bastar district of Chattisgarh has been telling RINL to source the raw material from Karnataka. Now it is being constrained to buy manganese ore, sand and other required raw material from outside by spending huge amounts. VSP has an annual production capacity of 7.3 million tonnes.
There is growing pressure on the government to extend the Garbham mining lease, which lapsed last year. Sand mine lease at Saripalli near Nellimarla in Vizianagaram district is also due for renewal. The application for extension of lease for Garbham mines was submitted as per Section 8A of MMDR Amendment Act, 2015 up to 2031 was submitted to the Department of Mines and Geology in 2017 itself.
RINL, a CPSE under the Ministry of Steel, has been operating manganese ore mine lease over an extent of 264.54 hectare at Garbham village of Merakamudidam mandal for meeting its requirement in making steel at the main plant. Mining lease was granted for a period of 20 years initially and further it was renewed for further period of 20 years with validity up to October 7, 2022.
Responding to the representation received from the Steel Executives’ Association (SEA), YSRCP MP from Visakhapatnam MVV Satyanarayana sent a letter to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy asking him to intervene and order extension of the mining lease at Garbham in view of strategic requirement and the need to maintain assured supply of manganese ore from its captive mines.
Earlier, SEA president Katam SS Chandra Rao and general secretary KVD Prasad in representations submitted to the Chief Minister and others, stated that VSP has been operating a lease of manganese ore mine over an extent of 264.54 hectare at Garbham and its renewal is pending with the Mining Department.
“As per Section 8A(3) of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, all mining leases granted before the commencement of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 shall be deemed to have been granted for a period of 50 years and as per Rule 72(1) of Minerals (Other than Atomic and Hydro Carbons Energy Mineral) Concession (Fourth Amendment) Rules, 2021 all mining leases for minerals granted to a government company or corporation before the date of commencement of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 (10 of 2015), namely, January 12, 2015 shall be deemed to have been granted for a period of 50 years,” SEA stated in the representation.
RINL has been pursuing with Department of Mines, AP since 2017 for an order to that affect i.e., well before expiry of present lease period, “We demand its immediate approval as RINL is undergoing a very difficult situation,” RINL recognised trade union leader and AITUC national vice-president D Adinarayana told Bizz Buzz on Thursday. He said the steel plant is unable to meet the requirement of manganese ore from its own captive mine thereby forcing it to buy it in the open market by paying more.