State-run export house MMTC will enter into a joint venture (JV) with Tata Steel to bid for mining projects in Africa, Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said on Wednesday.
“MMTC will hold 26 per cent stake in the proposed JV while the 74 per cent will be held by Tata Steel. The JV will jointly bid for mining projects in the Africa’s and explore opportunities in diamond, gold, iron ore and coal mining,” Ramesh said.
Ramesh, who has just returned from a four-day trip to Angola, said “the Angolan government has offered us opportunities in gold and diamond mining in their country.”
According to sources, Tata Steel’s board has approved the JV while the MMTC board has given an in-principle nod the formalities of the JV will be tied up soon, Ramesh said.
India is the largest consumer and importer of gold and diamonds. Both these imports amount to $ 10 billion each, Ramesh said. He added that such exploration activities will be beneficial for the Indian market that has a huge appetite for gold and diamonds.
MMTC’s precious metals business stood at Rs 13,300 crore in 2006-07. It is expected to go up to Rs 17,000 crore in 2007-08.
MMTC has JVs with several companies including – Bharat Petroleum Corporation for import of compressed natural gas, bitumen, furnace oil and paraffin wax. MMTC is the largest non-oil importer in India.
It has also tied up with PAMP, a Swiss metals company to set up medallion and gold refining unit in Haryana at an estimated cost of Rs one billion.
It has also formed a joint venture with Panama based Eisenberg Group of companies, UDI Panama for a 100 per cent Export oriented unit, for manufacture of cotton yarn, processed knitted fabric and premium garments for exports.