Coal undergoes washing in the direct reduced iron (DRI) unit of a plant in Raigarh, Chhattisgargh (Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg)

NMDC Hopes To Step Up Production After Third Quarter Disruptions

State-owned NMDC Ltd aims to produce about 45 million tonnes (MT) of iron ore during the next financial year as against the expected 35 million tonnes in the current fiscal, a top official of the company said.

"For 2018-19, we are looking at 43-45 MT production. It again depends on factors like logistics," N Baijendra Kumar, chairman and managing director of NMDC, told PTI. “We have to go up to 67 MT by 2022”, he added.

Last year, the company achieved 34.5 million tonnes of production. In 2017-18, the company had a good first two quarters, but “unfortunately” the third quarter was marred by problems of the railway line being affected by the rains, Kumar said. “That had taken away one-and-half months time. But still we are coping with the situation and the production levels are maintained," he explained.

We are aiming 37 MT for FY18, but we may up a little bit below. So 35 MT is a safe assumption.
N Baijendra Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, NMDC

The CMD said he recently wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary of Odisha, requesting the state government to allot the mines that have stopped operations after a Supreme Court order over penalty issues. He added that a high-level team comprising directors of NMDC N K Nanda and P K Satpathy recently met Odisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi to discuss the matter.

"As a Navratna company we have responsibility towards the nation. With the closure of mines in Odisha, our assessment is that there may be a shortfall of around 20 MT per annum of iron ore,” Kumar said."This will be reflected from the last quarter of this fiscal. We have necessary infrastructure with us for mining. We are interested to develop mines in Odisha, not with a profit motive but to overcome shortfall of ore," he said.

Replying to a query, he said the steel plant that is coming up in Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh, may be commissioned by November this year. He said the state-run miner has spent about Rs 13,000 crore on the plant so far and expects to spend about Rs 2000-3000 crore more to complete it.

Kumar said they are requesting the Madhya Pradesh government to allot some diamond mines to NMDC on a nomination basis. "We have requested the Madhya Pradesh government to allot diamond mines on a nomination basis. If they call for bidding, we will participate. We have already been involved in exploration in MP," he added.

According to him, the PSU scaled down diamond mining activities at Panna in MP due to issues related to wildlife protection and environment. Though the diamond mining capacity is pegged at about one lakh carat per annum, the company is producing 35,000 to 36,000 carat only, Kumar added.