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KOLKATA: ArcelorMittal India Private Limited (AMIPL), the holding company of ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India) on Thursday said it has commenced mining operations at its Thakurani iron ore mine in Keonjhar district of Odisha. The Thakurani block, with estimated reserves of around 179 million tonne, is expected to make a significant contribution to AM/NS India’s long-term raw material requirements.

"The block has annual production capacity of 5.5 million tonne, which can be scaled up to 8 million tonne and its mineral reserves are expected to increase once detailed exploration is complete," an official statement said.

AMIPL, which subsequently signed a Mine Development and Production agreement, executed a lease deed with the state government, has since acquired all valid rights, approvals, clearances and licenses, the statement added.

In February 2020, AMIPL was selected preferred bidder for the Thakurani iron ore mine license following an auction process conducted by the Odisha state government, in which AMIPL agreed to pay a 107.55% premium per tonne, as well as other royalty and duties.

Commenting on the development, Dilip Oommen, CEO, AM/NS India said: "ArcelorMittal India and AM/NS India are pleased to have commenced operations at this strategically important captive raw material site."

Thakurani was the first mining lease deed executed in Keonjhar district after the recent auctions, which is testament to the transparent and efficient process run by the Government of Odisha, he added.