Bhubaneswar: As the State is bracing up to go for auction of about 40 iron ore mines, the Jindal Steel & Power Ltd chairman Naveen Jindal has urged the government to reserve iron ore mines for Odisha-based steel plants.

Jindal, who met the chief secretary Asit Tripathy , here on Saturday, said “Companies which have invested thousands of crores in steel plants and have created employment in thousands should be given preference in iron ore auction. We have requested for giving iron ore mines first for captive consumption and then for merchant mining.”

The JSPL chairman also demanded that the iron ore prices in the State should be reduced in view of the fact that the global steel places have come down 30%. He said that the government should ensure raw material security to the State-based plants by supplying iron ore and coal at affordable prices.

Jindal, who also met the secretaries of steel & mines, industries and water resources, said that his company buys about one million tonne of iron ore every year making it the largest buyer of iron ore in the State.

JSPL, which has set up steel plant in Odisha with an investment of Rs 47,000 crore, depends on market for iron ore and coal as it does not have captive mines.

JSPL is expecting that the government will ensure captive iron ore mines and coal mines for its Angul plant in the State. For the first time in the world, JSPL has set up a coal gassification plant along with a two MTPA DRI plant. The investment relied heavily on the coal block allotted to it in Angul. Since the coal block was cancelled by Supreme Court, Jindal is hopeful of getting an iron ore and a coal block in the forthcoming auctions.