World's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal on Wednesday said it is looking at all possible options for setting up steel plants in the country dismayed by the pace of progress in its two current projects.
The steelmaker has signed memorandums of understanding with Jharkhand and Orissa for two steel plants of 12 million tonnes each with a cumulative investment of Rs 100,000 crore.
“We are looking at opportunities in India and may have to look at alternate sites,” said Vijay Bhatnagar, chief executive officer, ArcelorMittal India.
“We have spent four years in the country and it is not a short period of time. The sites could also be in the same states as well. We do understand the problems and delays but nevertheless are not happy with the progress,” he added.
So far the company has merely got mining lease for a mine in Jharlhand to support its proposed plant but is yet to get land in both the states.
Earlier, Minister of state for steel A Sai Prathap said that Karnataka is ready to offer an alternative site for the company's steel project.
The three states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh hold 70 percent of India’s coal reserves and 55 percent of iron ore and have attracted project proposals from global steelmakers including ArcelorMittal and South Korea’s Posco. But land disputes and delays in allocating mining licenses have prevented the companies from starting plants in the region.
Though Bhatnagar did not give a timeline when the new sites would be decided, he hoped the company would start making steel by the target year of 2014.
“We have not visited any new site yet nor have we heard from any of the state governments,” he said referring to Prathap's comment. “For now our timeline for making steel remains the same,” he added.