Iron ore deposits could well be Orissa's passport to a bright future. With the upswing in the global demand for steel, which is obtained after the reddish-grey ore is put through a blast furnace, Orissa is the toast of the country and perhaps the world. There is an unprecedented flow of capital into the State from global giants such as South Korea's Pohang Steel Company (POSCO) to domestic players such as Bhushan Steel, Jindal Steel & Power etc. Steel-makers are making a beeline to Bhubaneswar to sign memoranda of understanding (MoU) to set up intergrated steel plants. The huge deposits of iron ore State is expected to cater to needs of these companies. Besides iron ore (32.9 per cent of the country's reserves), Orissa has abundant reserves of bauxite (59.95 per cent), chromite (98.4 per cent), coal (24.8 per cent) and manganese (67.6 per cent). End-use industries based on these industires have a wider scope of growth in the state.
With the global demand for steel growing, the Union Cabinet recently unveiled a new steel policy that seeks to shore up the per annum steel production from 38 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes by 2019-20. But going by the current rush for iron ore in Orissa, the country may achieve the target well before the deadline. The State Government assigned 49 MoUs with various domestic and foreign companies for production of more than 75 million tonnes of steel in the state thereby bringning investment to the tune of 198,149 crore rupees. Similier MoUs have been signed by the state Government for alumina-aluminium and cement projects in the state.