ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS) has commenced mining operations at its Thakurani iron ore mine in Keonjhar, Odisha. The Thakurani block, with estimated reserves of 179 million tonnes (MnT), will make a valuable contribution to AM/NS India’s long-term raw material requirements.

The block has an annual capacity of 5.5 MnT which can be scaled up to 8 MnT and its mineral reserves are expected to increase once detailed exploration is complete. ArcelorMittal India Private Limited (AMIPL) subsequently signed a mine development and production agreement, executed a lease deed with the state government and has since acquired all valid rights, approvals, clearances and licenses.

In February 2020, AMIPL was selected preferred bidder for the Thakurani iron ore mine license following an auction process conducted by the Odisha state government, in which AMIPL agreed to pay a 107.55% premium per tonne, as well as other royalty and duties, ensuring strong revenue contribution to the state of Odisha.

Dilip Oommen, CEO, AM/NS India said: ArcelorMittal India and AM/NS India are pleased to have commenced operations at this strategically important captive raw material site. Thakurani was the first mining lease deed executed in Keonjhar District after the recent auctions, which is testament to the transparent and efficient process run by the government of Odisha.

“The ore produced at Thakurani will feed AM/NS India’s steel manufacturing facilities and support our long-term ambition to significantly grow our production capacity in India with a secure, integrated supply chain. Over time, our plan is to connect Thakurani to our plants in Odisha through a slurry pipeline, which ensures both a cost effective and environmentally friendly mode of mineral logistics. We recognize our responsibility to the local communities around the mine and are committed to safe, sustainable operations to earn their trust,” he concluded.