NRI billionaire L N Mittal-led ArcelorMittal today said that it expects to start work on its India projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore later this year.
"On India, I believe, we are making good progress on the greenfield projects and hope to break-ground later this year," ArcelorMittal Chief Financial Officer Aditya Mittal said in a conference call.
Asked if the company is looking at mergers and acquisitions to expand its India base, he said, "We have a joint venture with Uttam Galva. We are sensing whether we should have any other partnership in India. But at this point of time there is nothing off the ground."
It is, however, understood that the company has approached firms like the Steel Authority of India Ltd, Bhushan Power and Steel for a possible partnership due to the inordinate delays in launching its projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore for the past five years.
ArcelorMittal had proposed to set up a 12-Million Tonne Per Annum (MTPA) new steel plant, one each in Jharkhand and Orissa. But the proposed ventures are facing delays mainly on account of problems in land acquisition and regulatory hurdles.
Faced with tribal protests in Khunti and Gumla districts in Jharkhand, ArcelorMittal is now looking at Petarwar in Bokaro district as the new site for the plant.
The project requires around 8,000 acres of land.
On the raw material front, the Union government recently granted a licence to prospect iron ore in Jharkhand to the world's largest steel maker to partly feed the proposed plant.
The Mines Ministry has sought clarification from the state government on granting similar rights to the company in adjoining areas.
The company is learnt to have started shifting its employees to other location from its proposed site in Orissa.
It proposes to set up a 12-MTPA plant in the state and requires over 10,000 acres of land.
Amid the delays in starting work on the integrated proposed projects, the company had last year entered into partnership with domestic firm Uttam Galva, marking its first operational presence in the country.
The company is also exploring opportunities to set up a Rs 30,000 crore steel plant in Karnataka.