Non-resident Indian steel baron Lakshmi Mittal said in New Delhi on Wednesday that his flagship enterprise Arcelor Mittal plans to set up 10 million tonne capacity steel plants each in Jharkhand and Orissa, for which the government had assured him the allocation of iron ore mines. He said he had also got an assurance on allocation of coal mines for setting up captive power plants to feed the projects.
“Yes, we are 100 per cent committed to the two projects. I am confident of getting coal, iron ore and land for the two plants. There’s definitely an assurance from the government. We are depending on that to make progress,” Mittal told reporters shortly after he had paid the first installment of Rs 500 crore for a 49 per cent stake in the 9 million tonnes per annum Guru Gobind Singh Refinery at Bhatinda to petroleum minister Murli Deora. State-run Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd holds an equal 49 per cent, while the remaining 2 per cent is with financial institutions.
Answering queries about Arcelor Mittal’s interest in Chiria mines to set up the steel plant, Mittal said, “Everyone in the steel business likes to have the Chiria mines. We are not alone.” He said iron ore mines of 600 million tonnes each were required for the two planned steel projects.
Asked about the delays in securing iron ore and coal mines for the project, he said, “This is the first time after the Vizag steel plant that such a large investment has been announced. Government was not geared up for such large investments and the concessions needed."
Mittal said he hopes to move faster on the two projects. “Posco has not made much progress in the past three years. I plan to move faster on the steel projects. It has been a learning experience for them and they are now fully committed to supporting these projects,” he said.
Regarding Arcelor Mittal targets for next few years, he said the company had no targets in terms of tonnage. “We would like to be the leader in the steel industry. We currently have 10-12 per cent market share.”
Deora said HPCL and Mittal group had completed all work for a commercial agreement last February. However, due to the intervening Punjab elections, the formal agreement was signed after the election process was over.