ArcelorMittal seeks mining leases in Karnataka
New Delhi: World's largest steel maker ArcelorMittal has said it has sought mining leases in Karnataka even though new grants have been put on hold in the state.
"The Company has applied for mining leases, although following a recent Supreme Court order relating to illegal mining activities in Karnataka, and new mining legislation proposed by the Government of India, the allocation of new mining leases in Karnataka has been put on hold", the global steel giant said in a recent report.
ArcelorMittal has not been able to make much headway in USD 30 billion (over Rs 1.3 lakh crore) India projects.
The company had explored USD 6.5 billion investment opportunities in Karnataka after its proposed 12 million tonnes (MT) plants each in Jharkhand and Odisha had been delayed "because of challenges relating to securing necessary mining rights, land and construction permits and regulatory approvals," it said.
ArcelorMittal said it has completed all necessary steps to acquire the land and has received possession certificates for 2,659 acres of private land following the acquisition of 1,827 acres and 832 acres in December 2011 and October 2012, respectively.
"This leaves a balance of 136.33 acres of land owned by the Karnataka government, which is being processed for allocation," it said, adding that the government has also approved the project's use of water from the Tungabhadra River but leases are pending.
"A draft feasibility report for the contemplated steel plant is currently being prepared, and hydrological and environmental impact assessment studies have been initiated," the company has said.
The company had entered into a pact in June 2010, with Karnataka government for construction of a six-million tonne steel plant with a captive 750 megawatt power plant.
The Luxembourg-headquartered company is struggling to move ahead with its USD 30 billion projects in India for last several years.
In 2005 and 2006, it had entered into agreements with Jharkhand and Odisha governments to build large-scale integrated steel plants.
Both the projects have been marred by problems like opposition by the local people on land acquisition and regulatory delays forcing the company to shift focus on Karnataka.
However, the linkages for iron ore, a key steel-making raw material, are still awaited.
In May last year, ArcelorMittal Chief Lakshmi Mittal had said India plans might not materialise for "5 to 10 years".