Odisha permits 8 iron ore mines to reopen as prices rise

Acting on the Supreme Court's order, the Odisha government allowed eight iron ore mines, including those of Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India (SAIL), to reopen. The reopening of the mines — four of Tata Steel, three of SAIL and one of Odisha Mining Corporation — was cleared by the state government on May 30, an industry source said.

"We are happy to note that Odisha government has expeditiously processed our request and issued the necessary orders. This will help SAIL in ensuring raw material securitisation and thus maintain the growth momentum for SAIL during the year and beyond," Chairman C S Verma said in a statement on Monday.

Tata Steel also confirmed that four of its mines have been allowed to reopen.

The Supreme Court had on May 16 directed closure of 26 leases whose agreements had expired and directed the state to decide on reopening them within six months. These mines had a cumulative production capacity of about 35 million tonnes a year.

Tata Steel was the worst affected, with seven captive mines on the list. Moody's Investors Service recently said the company may face higher raw material costs if its mines remain closed for over a year.

Iron ore prices have shot up by over Rs 500 per tonne in Odisha over the past week.

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