The public sector, Manganese Ore India Ltd (MOIL) is likely to sign a joint venture agreement with BHP Billiton, one of world's largest diversified mining resources company, to explore marketing and exploration ventures both in India and abroad for manganese and other ores.
MOIL already has a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BHP Billiton Carbon Steel Materials, a unit of the South Africa-based BHP Billiton group company. The unit is the world's leading supplier of core raw materials (iron ore, metallurgical coal, and manganese) and services to the global steel industry.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Kishan Mehrotra, chairman and managing director of MOIL, said, "We have a MoU with BHP Billiton and we would like to take the lead with them either to access their mining operation or get the material through them and import to fill in the demand gap 700,000 tones of manganese ore in India by 2010. There is a proposal to go in for a joint venture with them to for finished products."
"The board has already approved and we would go for a formal approval from the government for the quantum of investment," he said.
South Africa has about 80 per cent of the world's manganese ore reserves. India accounts for 7 to 8 per cent of the world's manganese or its production.
MOIL's sales stood at around Rs. 335 crore in the year to March 2006. As part of the target to make it an Rs 1,000 crore company by 2010, the company, in addition to seeking foreign collaboration, has recently joined hands with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL).
Explaining the rationale for the MoU with RINL, Mehrotra pointed out that RINL needs 70,000 to 80,000 tones of ferro alloys to make good steel and it was also going for an expansion of 6.5 million tones for which it would need more than one lakh tones of ferro alloys.
MOIL had commissioned MECON Ltd (formerly known as Metallurgical & Engineering Consultants (India) Ltd), to study if MOIL could set up a plant to supply ferro alloys and signed its agreement with RINL in line with the report. RINL would buy all the alloys produced from the MOIL plant, Mehrotra said.
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