Sesa Goa told to develop mines or leave Jharkhand

Kolkata: Sesa Goa has received a showcause notice from the Jharkhand government asking it why its prospective licence for iron ore mines in the state should not be cancelled.

The district mining officer of Chaibasa has said the company seemed more interested in keeping the 7 square km of mining area in its fold rather than developing it.

The company has been asked to reply to the showcause notice in a month''s time.

Sesa''s valuation received the first blow when the Centre imposed an export levy of Rs300 a tonne on iron ore on 28 February. The company exports one-tenth of its 9.6-million-tonne output to Japan and 58 per cent to China and Taiwan.

Sesa Goa received the prospective licence for the mines in Jharkhand''s West Singhbhum district in early 2005.

Industry sources said the letter gains significance because the valuation of the country''s second-largest iron ore exporter would be determined by its reported 150 million tonne of iron ore reserves in Orissa, Karnataka and Goa and the prospective mining licence in Jharkhand (government-owned MMTC is the country''s largest iron ore exporter).

Lakhmi Mittal controlled Arcelor Mittal, Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Resources, and the Aditya Birla Group''s closely-held Essel Mining & Industries have submitted bids for Mitsui''s 51 per cent stake in Sesa Goa.