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Investors fly in to tap Orissa's mineral riches [India]

Author: Khozem Merchant, Financial Times, Published on: 28 July 2006

Naveen Patnaik, the chief minister of Orissa, says his officials have signed memoranda of understanding for investments totalling Rs2,000bn ($43bn). The memoranda should convert into blast furnaces, refineries and smelters over the next five to seven years...But the abundance of untapped raw materials has exposed frailties in the state government's management of its natural wealth. Earlier this year 13 people were killed in clashes between police and tribal communities who fear they will be short-changed as giants such as South Korea's Posco, which has started work on a 12m tonne capacity steel plant, buy up land. The deaths occurred in an area where four greenfield steel plants are due to be built over the next five years, at a site bought by Tata Steel...which is regarded as a model in its treatment of the displaced. Protests from local politicians prompted an overhaul of Orissa's "rehabilitation and resettlement" policy. The United Nations Development Programme advised the state in consultation with local people and mining companies...The new policy, introduced in April, is the benchmark for all Orissa's projects that trigger resettlement, from mining, which mostly involves private-sector investors, to irrigation, a public-sector undertaking. [also refers to Alcan, Hindalco (part of Aditya Birla), Mittal]

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Related companies: Aditya Birla Group Alcan (now Rio Tinto Alcan) Hindalco (part of Aditya Birla Group) Mittal Steel (part of Arcelor Mittal) Posco Tata Group Tata Iron and Steel (TISCO) (part of Tata Group)