Friday, September 08, 2006

Chiria Mines - The Heart-Throb Of Steel Moguls

Till recently, not much was known about Chiria mines. But when the famous cast their eyes on anything, it becomes the cynosure of all. This is precisely what has happened to Chiria mines which is hogging publicity for long.Indian Iron Steel Company - the second steel plant in existence (other than Tata Steel) prior to India gaining independence in 1947 was a British blue chip company listed in London exchange. It became sick despite several efforts to revive it in 1970s. It had a mining lease for Chiria mines which reportedly expired in 1979. After it was made a wholly-owned subsidiary of SAIL in 1979, the company turned corners during 2005. Along with IISCO, Chiria mines also came under SAIL.
What is so special about Chiria mines? It has a deposit of 1.4 billion tonnes of iron ore of superior quality. So in a competitive world of new steel projects coming literally by dozens, if one has Chiria mines the battle is half won. SAIL is therefore keen to retain its hold over it. After all, it has ambitious plans to expand capacity to 22 million tonnes and is aiming higher to reach 40 million tonnes. The ubiquitous Mittal Steel has also jumped into the arena with their project to manufacture 12 million tonnes in the state of Jharkhand and wants 600 million tonnes out of the Chiria mines.
The Jharkhand government which awards the mining rights cannot throw away so easily SAIL - a central government undertaking. The matter is subjudice and any out of court settlement has been made difficult by the political twist to the problem. The state government is ruled by a coalition of parties which are opposed to the central coalition.Can you guess which suitor will get Chiria mines?

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