Tata Steel Mining Limited said it signed an agreement with Jindal Stainless to jointly mine the chrome ore lying beneath the boundary between the companies’ mines in Sukinda in Odisha’s Jajpur district.
Chromium is used to make shiny metallic items, such as stainless steel vessels and chrome-plated auto parts.
The companies said the chromite — or chromium ore — would have lain unused if the two companies did not come to an agreement on how to extract it.
“This would help conservation of chromite ore which otherwise would have been left unmined forever,” Tata Steel Mining said.
“This unique partnership sets an example for Sustainable Chrome Ore Mining in an innovative manner,” it went on, calling the deal a “win-win-win partnership for Odisha, TSML and JSL”.
The companies would now initiate steps to get necessary statutory approvals from concerned authorities before jointly starting mining operations, it said.
Both Jindal and Tata Steel are among the largest producers of steel in India, including stainless steel, and would find ready use for the chromium unearthed.
MC Thomas, Managing Director, Tata Steel Mining, said the initiative will “set examples for organizations, especially in the mining industry, to collaborate in the larger interest of mineral conservation and sustainability”.
“These will redefine the way mining is done through technology, mineral conservation and safety,” he said.
Abhyuday Jindal, Managing Director of Jindal Stainless Limited, said the mining activity will have a far lower impact on the environment than digging out chromite from a green field project, since the area is already well explored.
The size of the chromite deposit, and the potential recovery for each company, was not disclosed, nor were any financial impact or details given out by the companies.