India approves US$ 12 billion steel plant

By Helen Wright31 January 2011

The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has granted conditional approval for Posco to construct a US$ 12 billion steel plant in the eastern state of Orissa.

Plans for the 12 million tonne per year steelworks, port and power plant have been in the pipeline since 2005, but South Korean steel manufacturer Posco has faced delays securing environmental clearances.

The entire project complex requires over 16 km2 of land, of which nearly 13 km2 is forest land, while eight villages would also be affected.

Following a string of committees to consider the impact of the project, the MoEF gave conditional approval on 31 January, albeit with the imposition of a new set of environmental conditions for the construction and operation of the steelworks, port and power plant.

The new stipulations include a mandate that 25% of the total area within the plant is designated 'green', while 2% of the net profit from the project must be donated to corporate social responsibility in the region.

"The environmental clearance for captive port is being accorded with 32 additional conditions," the MoEF order said.

The Ministry is set to give its final go-ahead for the steelworks after receiving the local state government's approval for the forest land needed for the project.

Posco said the Orissa steel plant is the largest foreign direct investment in India's history.

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