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Moving towards privatisation of mining in India, the Union government granted Essar Steel Limited a prospecting licence in February 2007 to mine iron ore reserves in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district. The licence was given after the National Mineral Development Corporation's 30-year lease expired on February 3, 2007, without any excavations having been undertaken. Essar will reportedly use the iron from the 2,285-hectare stretch in Deposit 3 in the Bailadila mountains to feed a steel plant in Dantewada. The plant is facing stiff opposition from local tribals who will lose their land if the project comes up.
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