By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, December 4, 2019: Controversy over the criteria in bid documents has literally forced the Odisha government to again invite bids for 20 iron and manganese mine blocks in the next couple of days.

The Odisha government had issued tenders in October these mines. Officially, administrative inconvenience has been attributed for cancellation of the tender.

In the first lot of 10 merchant iron ore and manganese blocks offered for online auctions, the state government had received 177 bids in all from 58 companies- large steel producers, secondary steel makers, pellet manufacturers and top merchant miners from Odisha and Goa.

ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), Vedanta owned Electrosteel Steels Ltd, ferro alloys maker T S Alloys, Aditya Birla Group-owned Essel Mining & Industries Ltd, KJS Ahluwalia, and Serajuddin & Company are among the companies which have bid for Odisha’s iron ore mines.

The Nuagaon iron ore lease, currently held by KJS Ahluwalia, spread over 767.28 hectares has balance reserves of over 700 million tonnes. Owing to its immense deposit, the floor price for auction of this asset was kept at 50 per cent of the sale value (of the mineral) determined as per IBM (Indian Bureau of Mines). The block attracted 15 technical bids

The state government has decided to insert some additional conditions in the tenders for the expiring merchant mine leases. A successful bidder after obtaining all statutory clearances needs to produce in the first two years at least 80 per cent of what the mine actually produced in the preceding two years.

Fresh Notice Inviting Tenders (NIT) in respect of the 20 blocks will be issued on December 6, officials said adding that the deadline for bid submission would be January 3, 2020. The conduct of ascending forward electronic auctions and submission of final price offer on the auction platform will be done between January 31 and February 21, 2020 while the Letter of Intent (LoI) is to be issued from February 10 to February 29, 2020.

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