Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steel maker with annual production of 118 million tonnes, had sought mining licences for 1.2 billion tonnes of iron ore, 600 million tonnes each in Orissa and Jharkhand, a company executive said on condition of anonymity. The company plans to set up two 12 million tonne steel plants in Jharkhand and Orissa.
“The Orissa project is in advanced stages of implementation. On conservative estimates, the first phase production of 6 million tonnes is expected to start by 2011, and second phase will be completed in 2016,” she said. “We are hopeful of completing the land acquisition and other clearances within 12 months,” she added.
The company has identified 8,000 acres in Orissa but refused to say where. Of this the state government owns 1,800 acres. “Rehabilitation is a sensitive issue and we are trying to sort these things,” she said.
Arcelor Mittal will make the combined investment of $20 billion ($10 billion for each location). “As part of the merger of Mittal Steel and Arcelor, it was decided that all the steel businesses will be under the merged entity and the rest of the business will be owned by the Mittal family. The Indian units will primarily cater to the domestic market as steel consumption is expected to witness phenomenal growth in India,” she added.
On the issue of the Jharkhand project being delayed, the executive said Arcelor Mittal was also looking at other options, including a joint venture for supply of iron ore. Industry sources said the company was in talks with Sesa Goa, which was acquired by Vedanta Resources, for setting up the steel plant. Sesa Goa has mining leases in Jharkhand. Industry sources said Sesa Goa might take a 26 per cent stake in the Jharkhand Arcelor Mittal plant against ore supplies. However, Arcelor Mittal denied any such negotiation.