Birla firm awaiting mining clearance for Assam JV

Kolkata, July 2 (IANS) Birla Corporation Limited (BCL), the flagship company of the M.P. Birla Group, on Thursday said it is awaiting mining clearances to the Assam Mineral Development Corporation (AMDC) to set up a joint venture in the state.

“The joint venture between BCL and AMDC is yet to be formed. We are waiting for limestone mining block allocation to AMDC before forming it,” the company’s managing director, B.R. Nahar, told media persons here on the sidelines of the company’s Annual General Meeting.

BCL signed the agreement in 2011 with AMDC where the former will hold 12.5 percent stake while the M.P. Birla group company will have the rest of the stake.

The cement maker has plans to set up one million tonnes capacity plant in Umrangso in Dima Hasao district in Assam. The expected investment will be Rs.600 crore.

Company officials said AMDC will be approaching the Indian Bureau of Mines in Nagpur to help it in the mines allocation.

The project, awaiting mining lease clearances, will enjoy the statutory incentives for setting up industry in the backward region in the northeast.

The company’s chairman, Harsh V. Lodha said it may consider bidding in the coal auctions to secure capacitative blocks.

“We may bid in the coal auctions depending on the prices. We have submitted our claim for compensation to the government over the investments we have made earlier on the coal block,” he said.

Following the Supreme Court’s September 2014 verdict terming the allocations of various coal blocks as illegal and arbitrary, the company had lost its coal mines.

“We have chalked out a growth plan in both organic and inorganic means for the ongoing fiscal year”, Lodha said.

The company intends to increase its total annual output capacity from the existing 9.3 MT to 15 MT in the coming 3-4 years and have a Capex plan of Rs.900 crore during 2015-16.

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