The Jharkhand-based mine, which has 10 million tonnes per annum capacity, is crucial to Tata Steel's raw material supply for its 9.8 mtpa Jamshedpur facility.

"We have started the mine from January 1. It will reach to its full capacity in 2-3 days. The rated capacity of the mine is 10 mtpa," the official said.      

The Noamundi mine has been closed since September on renewal of lease issues which forced Tata Steel to resort to imports of iron ore to the tune of 5 million tonnes.

The issue cropped up following a notification of Mines Ministry last July amending Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, which provide for a period of two years to execute renewal lease for the first time.

It does not provide the leverage for second and subsequent renewals, based on the interpretation of a Supreme Court directive. This led to the closure of more than 40 mines in Odisha and Jharkhand belonging to SAIL, Tata Steel and others.

The closure of the mines forced Tata Steel to temporarily suspend operation of a blast furnace for over a month. It had  earlier said this would impact the stability of operations, cost structure and profitability during the October-December quarter.

However, it is looking for better days during the January-March quarter as its four mines in Odisha have resumed last month.

Tata Steel has been operating its mines in Jharkhand and Odisha for several decades and the operation of its Jamshedpur facility is dependent "equally" on these mines located in the two mineral-rich eastern states.

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