Companies & Sectors
ArcelorMittal gets nod for multibillion Arctic iron ore venture in Canada

Canada gave its final clearance to the project under which ArcelorMittal-led consortium will begin construction of the new iron-mine close to Arctic

 

Toronto: Facing hurdles in France, Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal on Tuesday got green light from Canada for its multi-billion dollar project to develop one of the world's largest iron-ore mines in the Baffin Island in the Arctic, reports PTI.

 

The local Nunavut Impact Review Board gave its final clearance to the project under which ArcelorMittal-led consortium will begin construction of the new iron-mine close to Arctic, CBC reported.

 

ArcelorMittal acquired the Mary River deposit in the Canadian Arctic last year in a $567.61 million deal as part of its new thrust to reach its long-term goal of nearly doubling its iron ore production, reducing dependence on miners such as Vale SA, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

 

ArcelorMittal will hold 70% stake in the Arctic venture with the rest to be shared by Australia's Iron Ore Holdings LP.

 

The 17,000-hectare mine and associated infrastructure, including a port and railway, is expected to cost between 4-5 billion Canadian dollars, with first production about five years after construction starts.

 

CBC said the Canadian board's decision was the culmination of a four-year assessment of the project, in which Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation plans to build a massive open-pit mine at its Mary River site about 160 kilometres south of Pond Inlet, Nunavut, along with a railway and port that would allow icebreakers to ship the ore through Arctic waters year-round.

 

The television network quoted a local board official as saying that the current production plan was for 18 million tonnes which would be ramped up "fairly quickly within the first year or two of start of production".

 

The Arctic is considered to be the last frontier of mining and until just a few years back, the huge resources had been left untapped due to the region's inaccessibility and the massive costs of extraction. But now, due to the exponential rise in commodity prices, the mining companies feel that the risk would be well compensated.

 

This will be the first iron-ore mine inside the Arctic circle where temperatures plunge to as low as -50 degree Celsius and to overcome this, ArcelorMittal is earmarking a staggering $2 billion for building a 140-kilometre railroad connecting the mines to a port.

 

The port near the mines can be reached only by ice-breaking cargo ships, with three times the normal engine power and custom-built to navigate frozen waters.

 

To provide stability, the railroad track would be set on a four-metre deep foundation. Canadian official said that the construction of the port and the railroad would be completed between 18 months to two years.

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Direct cash transfer: EC asks government to defer its operation in Gujarat and Himachal

The Election Commission also expressed concern over the announcement and expected the union government to avoid doing so during the operation of model code of conduct

New Delhi: Voicing concern over announcement of direct cash transfer scheme during the operation of Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission on Tuesday directed the union government to keep in abeyance its implementation in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where the poll process is on, reports PTI.

 

The three-member Election Commission met under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath and considered the government's reply on the issue following its query and said the announcement was 'avoidable' during the election process.

 

The Commission also expressed concern over the announcement and expected the government to avoid doing so during the operation of model code.

 

"Taking into consideration of the above chronology of milestones of the scheme, the Commission is of the considered opinion that the aforesaid announcement was avoidable during the currency of the election process going by the letter and spirit of the Model Code of Conduct," the EC order said.

 

"The Commission further directs that all follow up and consequential steps towards the implementation of the scheme in respect of the four districts in the State of Gujarat and the two districts in the State of Himachal Pradesh, which are proposed to be covered in the first phase of implementation of the scheme, shall be kept in abeyance till completion of the election process in these two States," the order stated.

 

While considering the government's response to its query on the issue, the poll body said, "It is silent with regard to the justification sought by the Commission as to the necessity of announcement of the scheme at this juncture, when the Model Code of Conduct is in operation in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh."

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Dena Bank scraps processing fee on home, auto loans till 31st December

Dena Bank cut its processing fee on home, auto, personal and gold loans till month end

 
Mumbai: State-run Dena Bank has scrapped processing fee for housing and auto loans for a limited period till month-end, reports PTI.
 
The fee on personal loans and gold loans have also been halved, a statement issued here said, adding the offer is valid till the end of the month.
 
Apart from that, it will also be giving a 50% concession in processing fee for trade finance scheme for credit facilities of up to Rs2 crore, it said.
 
Doctors availing credit facilities of up to Rs2 crore will also get to enjoy 50% cut in the processing fee, the bank said.
 
At present, the rate of interest for the bank's housing loans range from 10.45 to 11%, 11-12% for auto loans, while personal loans come at 13-14%, the statement said.
 
Demand from the corporate side has dried up due to gloomy economic conditions, which has forced bankers to shift focus towards the retail segment, where demand continues.
 

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