The environment ministry has given its go-ahead toÂ POSCO-India‘s planned steel plant in the country, but has asked it to spend on “social commitments”, a company spokesman said, raising the project’s cost by $600 million to $12.6 billion.
The revalidation of the South Korean firm’s lapsed environmental clearance comes days before the country’s president, Park Geun-hye, visits India for four days starting January 15.
The proposed 12 million-tonnes-per-year plant in Odisha has been stuck for more than eight years due to delays in getting various clearances and acquiring land.
The company is hopeful Park’s visit will speed up the project – India’s biggest foreign direct investment.
“Though an additional burden has been put on us, we are happy with the revalidation,”Â POSCO-India spokesman IG Lee told Reuters on Thursday. “It means the removal of a hurdle for us.”
The company will have to spend 5% of the total investment on “enterprise social commitments”, Lee said, adding it was not immediately clear what that would entail. The ministry could not be contacted outside regular business hours.
POSCOÂ could also hear some good news on its request for a licence to explore iron ore. Odisha will reply within a “day or two” to the mines ministry on granting an iron ore exploration licence to Posco, the state’s mines director Deepak Kumar Mohanty told Reuters.
POSCO-India Private Limited is a subsidiary of POSCO, the worldâ€™s fourth largest steel producer and one of the most competitive steel companies in the world (World Steel Dynamics 2006). POSCO-Indiaâ€™s proposed investment is the highest ever Foreign Direct Investment in India. The making of this world class steelworks with 12 million tons per annum will not only provide extensive value addition to the mineral wealth of Orissa but also take the state and nation to the zenith of global steel industry.