India’s Odisha Said to Auction First Mines by December

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India’s eastern state of Odisha may start auctions of mining concessions by December, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

A state appointed committee is readying plans for the sale and is preparing detailed maps of about 16 areas, including nine iron ore mines, five containing manganese and two of limestone, the people said, asking not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. The state will decide the final list of mines to be auctioned on July 28 and announce details by Oct. 31, according to the people.

Prafulla Kumar Mallik, Odisha’s steel and mines minister, was traveling and not available for comment when called at his office in Bhubaneshwar on Monday.

The Indian government in January ordered states to start selling iron ore, bauxite, zinc, copper and other mineral mines by auction. The nation in March completed its first sale of coal deposits through a bidding system, earning as much as $53 billion that’ll accrue to the states over 30 years.

Odisha is where South Korea’s biggest steel producer Posco planned a $12 billion investment to build a steel, port and mine project that has been stalled for a decade. The steelmaker has since “tentatively postponed” the project, touted as India’s biggest foreign investment, due to the lack of a mine, Chief Executive Officer Kwon Oh Joon said last week.

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