The total reserves of iron ore in the state are estimated at 4177 million tones. All iron ore mining operations in the State are opencast and the methods range from manual to mechanised. Most of the mechanised mines have crushing and screening facilities as well. At present, the state produces 46.06milion tonnes of iron ore (2004-05).
With opening up of the economy and liberalization policies the mineral resources have now drawn world wide attention for large scale mining and setting up of mineral based industries in the State specially in the iron and steel sector. In view of growing world wide demand for steel, there has been a major surge of interest in this sector. As Odisha possesses a total reserve of 4177 million tonne of high-grade iron ore which is 33.91% of the country’s deposit, the steel makers of national and international repute have shown interest to establish steel plants in the State. Government of Odisha have already signed 43 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) / agreement with private parties desirous of setting up steel plants with an investment of Rs.1,37,156.00. crore to produce about 58 MTPA steel.
A reputed and well established foreign company viz M/S Pohang Steel Company (POSCO), South Korea, which is one of the largest producers of steel in the world, has evinced keen interest for setting up a mega steel project having a capacity of 12 MTPA with an investment of US $ 12 billion approximately.
In addition to above, M/S. TATA Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. and M/S. Sterlite Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. have also signed MoUs with the State Govt. to set up mega steel projects of 6 MTPA and 5 MTPA respectively with a proposed investment of about Rs.27,902 crore.
Besides Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd. (NINL), which has been promoted as a joint sector project of IPICOL, Government of Odisha, MMTC and MECON has started commercial production of pig iron from 1.1 MTPA blast furnace since 2002. The Sinter Plant of NINL has been commissioned during March 2004, which will make production of Pig iron more profitable. The associated project of Konark Met Coke Ltd. (KMCL) set up at Duburi Industrial Complex made steady progress for production of coke, which will make it one of the unique project of its kind in the country at a time when country is facing acute shortage of coke.