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  1. https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2021/08/30/maddhapara-hard-rock-mine-faces-uncertainty-as-operator-s-contract-expires-on-sept-2 Maddhapara hard rock mine faces uncertainty as operator’s contract expires on Sept 2 UNB Published at 06:07 pm August 30th, 2021 Maddhapara Granite Mining Company Ltd (MGMCL) earns a profit of Tk7.26 crore for fiscal year 2018-19 Dhaka Tribune The Belarus-based GTC has been operating and maintaining the mine since September 2013 under a deal worth $171.86 million Uncertainty looms large over continued operation of Maddhapara hard rock mine as the current contract with the mine’s operator is due to expire on September 2. According to official sources, neither a decision was made to extend the current contract of Maddhapara Granite Mining Company Ltd (MGMCL) with the existing operator Germania Trest Consortium (GTC), nor any move visible to appoint a new contractor as yet. “No new operating company has not been selected yet to take over the operation of the mine’, said a top official of the MGMCL, a subsidiary of the state-owned Petrobangla. Abu Taleb Farazi, general manager, who is responsible for operation of the MGMCL, was reluctant to talk on the issue. The Belarus-based GTC has been operating and maintaining the mine since September 2013 under a deal worth $171.86 million (equivalent to Tk 1,400 crore). After completion of its tenure, the GTC’s contract was extended by a year by the government considering the Covid-19 pandemic situation. However, as the Covid-19 is not fully over, the Energy and Mineral Resources Division of the government has been in a dilemma over inking a fresh contact with the existing operator or a new one. Official sources at MGMCL, however, said they had moved to appoint a new operator through tender process. But that tender had to be shelved due to Covid-19. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said that his ministry is yet to take any decision in this regard. "We’ll take a call only after consultation with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina," he recently told UNB. Official sources said if no firm decision is made over the issue, the country’s lone rock mining company will be in crisis and mining of the rock will have to be suspended. They said civil construction works of a number of mega projects including Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Payra Plant, Matarbari Plant and the construction of Hazrat Shahjalal Airport’s third terminal will be in trouble as they depend on the supply of rocks from the Maddapara Granite Mining Company. Besides, if the company is closed, more than 700 workers and employees will become unemployed, said an official. Officials said the nearby Barapukuria Coal Mine in Dinajpur faced the same situation as deal with China-based CMC-XMC Consortium expired on 10 August. Two-thirds of the employees and workers at the coal mine lost their jobs. A top official said, “The efforts are continuing and this will be finalised before the deal expires. We are working to complete it within the time so the activities of the company do not be hampered.” He said international tender was floated several times to appoint a contractor for this company, but foreign companies are found to be reluctant to come to Bangladesh amid the Coronavirus situation. A mining industry source alleged the decision to appoint a contractor was being delayed due to an unscrupulous section of the officials who want to put the company into crisis. “This corrupt syndicate wants to capitalise the crisis situation to appoint a contractor of choice from their ill motive”, he added. Annual report of the company shows that after a repeated loss of previous 10 years, MGMCL has recorded a profit in the past two financial years for the first time since it began commercial operations in 2007. The company made a profit of Tk 7 crore in 2018-19 and Tk 22 crore in 2019-20 after reporting losses for 11 years, according to its latest annual report. In the previous fiscal, the company produced a whopping 1.67 million metric tonnes (MT) hard rock and sold 721,000 MT at Tk 163.14 crore. Similarly, it produced 823,000 MT and sold 863,000 MT at Tk 207.81 in 2018-19. Officials at MGMCL claimed the mine is expected to cross a benchmark of Tk 50 crore in its profit margins at the end of the current financial year. He said the company mined 1.1 trillion tonnes of rock during the time which was 20% higher than the normal time.
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