By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, August 5, 2017: The state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) has set an ambitious target to ramp up iron ore production to 20 MT by 2019-20.

The state PSU hopes to achieve highest ever production of eight million tonnes (MT) of iron ore at the end of this fiscal.

Beating the global market slowdown, the state-run public sector undertaking could sell around 7.7 million tons of iron ore during 2016-17 against sale of 4.5 million tons during 2015-16, an official statement said following a high level review of OMC’s performance on Saturday chaired by chief secretary, Aditya Prasad Padhi.

In 2013-14, the total iron ore production was around 1.8 MT which increased to 3.1 MT during 2014-15, 6 MT during 2015-16 and further to 6.4 MT in 2016-17. Incidentally, by the end of July last, the sale of iron ore already has crossed 2.14 MT, an increase of 9 per cent over the same period last year, the review meeting revealed.

Similarly, in spite of fall in ferro-chrome prices, OMC has started its business operation for sale of around 1 MT chromite during 2017-18 against 0.8 MT of sale in last fiscal.

The sale value of this production is expected to be around Rs 2,800 crore which would be highest in the last 5 years. The corporation has scaled up its net profit to Rs 846 crore during 2016-17 after taxes.

Padhi directed OMC officials to adopt innovative methods for scaling up mining operations and business transactions.

OMC Managing Director Vineel Krishna said that during 2015-16, the corporation paid Rs 1,415 crore to government towards royalty, dividend, and taxes.

During 2016-17, OMC paid Rs 1,548 crore to the government while in the first quarter of the current fiscal, it has already paid Rs 300 crore towards royalty, dividend and sales tax, he added.

In another significant development, OMC has set up Odisha Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (OMECL) as a 100% subsidiary of OMC. The corporation will conduct exploration activities for new mining sites. The scope of the exploration work has been listed out by a committee headed by Director of Mines. Four manganese blocks in Bolangir, 4 bauxite blocks in Rayagada, 7 iron ore blocks in Khandadhar, 1 iron ore block in Thakurani-A have been identified for exploration through OMECL.