The Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is planning to increase output from its iron ore mine at Chiria, Jharkhand state NE India to 15Mt/y.

Present output is 1Mt and according to a plan submitted by the consulting group, Hatch, output should be raised in two phases, the first to 7Mt/y.

An investment of INR 50bn (US$998M) is envisaged for the expansion which will meet 40% of SAIL’s needs and will supply its works at Bokaro, Burnpur, Durgapur and Rourkela and a new steelplant to be built at Burnpur.

Reserves at Chira are estimated at 2.2bnt of high grade haematite ore – the largest deposit in the whole of Asia.

SAIL has obtained permission for forest clearance for the expanded mining operations, but such activities are often resisted by the local population leading to long delays in developing resources.

India is currently suffering a shortage of ore in some locations due to mining by private companies having been stopped in the southern state of Karnataka where illegal mining was taking place.