Environment nod to lift cost of POSCO's India plant to $12.6 billion

Date of publication: 
9 January 2014

NEW DELHI: Environment ministry has given its go-ahead to POSCO’s planned steel plant in the country, but has asked it to spend on “social commitments”, a company spokesman said, raising the project’s cost by $600 million to $12.6 billion.

The revalidation of the South Korean firm’s lapsed environmental clearance comes days before the country’s president, Park Geun-hye, visits India for four days starting Jan. 15.

The proposed 12 million-tonnes-per-year plant in eastern Odisha state has been stuck for more than eight years due to delays in getting various clearances and acquiring land.

The company is hopeful Park’s visit will speed up the project – India’s biggest foreign direct investment.

“Though an additional burden has been put on us, we are happy with the revalidation” POSCO-India spokesman IG Lee told Reuters on Thursday. “It means the removal of a hurdle for us.”

The company will have to spend 5 percent of the total investment on “enterprise social commitments”, Lee said, adding it was not immediately clear what that would entail. The ministry could not be contacted outside regular business hours.

POSCO could also hear some good news on its request for a licence to explore iron ore. Odisha will reply within a “day or two” to the federal mines ministry on granting an iron ore exploration licence to POSCO, the state’s mines director Deepak Kumar Mohanty told Reuters.

Reuters reported in July that the mines ministry was in favour of giving a licence to POSCO, which plans to use locally mined iron ore for the steel plant.

POSCO first signed an agreement with Odisha in June 2005 to set up the steel plant on 4,004 acres of land.

It has already been allotted about 2,700 acres to begin the project’s first stage, which involves setting up two 4-million-tonne plants in two phases. But much of the work can begin only after a nod from India’s environmental court, which in May put on hold felling of trees for the project.

The first phase of the plant may be commissioned sometime in 2018, POSCO officials have said.


Anti-Posco leaders oppose South Korean Prez visit

Progress of Posco steel project in Odisha also set to figure in bilateral talks

BS Reporter – http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/anti-posco-leaders-op...

15 January 2014

Bhubaneswar – The Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the organisation spearheading the agitation against the Posco project near Paradip in Odisha, organised mass rallies at Dhinkia village to protest the visit of South Korean President Park Gyun-hye to India.

They burned effigies of Park Gyun-hye, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union minister for environment & forests Verappa Moily to give vent to their anger. The South Korean President reached India on Wednesday on a three-day visit and is scheduled to hold talks with Singh and corporate leaders to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.

The progress of the Posco steel project in Odisha is also set to figure in the bilateral talks. PPSS leaders including the villagers of Dhinkia have protested the visit of South Korean President. They also flayed Moily for granting environment clearance to Posco to build its steel project. Thousands of villagers of Dhinkia, reiterated their opposition to the project. The protest meeting was held at Patana haat in Dhinkia.

Addressing the gathering, anti-Posco leader Abhaya Sahu said, “We are not protesting the South Korean President’s visit for talks regarding the economic ties between the two countries. We are opposed to her talks with the Prime Minister on expediting Posco related work at Paradip.”

“Our aim is to send out the message to her that the Posco project is being developed after demolishing our houses and depriving us of our livelihoods,” Sahu said.

Other PPSS leaders took exception to the Odisha government’s stand to recommend the grant of prospecting license (PL) over Khandadhar mines in favour of Posco.