The country’s prestigious 100% export-oriented unit and mini rathna KIOCL Ltd was incorporated in 1976 to develop mine and plant facilities. The company has now established itself as a reliable supplier of iron ore concentrates and iron oxide pellets in the international market. Its products are now exported to China, Japan, Iran and Taiwan in the international market besides catering to a number of consumers in the domestic market. The company’s chairman-cum-managing director Malay Chatterjee spoke to Hindustan Times on a range of issues. Excerpts:
How do you see the future of KIOCL in the aftermath of closure of Kudremukh Mine since 2006?
KIOCL was established as the country’s premier pellet making public sector undertaking along with Kudremukh Mines. Today, KIOCL having no captive mine, its long term sustenance is being threatened. However, we have aggressively taken up various other business modules to make KIOCL a vibrant and profit earning central public sector undertaking (CPSU).
What are your prospects in pellet and beneficiation?
KIOCL Ltd., which was erstwhile Kudremukh Iron Ore Co. Ltd., was started as a premier beneficiation and pellet making company. The competency and expertise of KIOCL in the country is for pelletisation and beneficiation and it is currently still the front runner. The role and importance of KIOCL is going to increase exponentially with setting up of new pellet and beneficiation plants. Currently, we are in dialogue with sister public sector companies such as NMDC, SAIL and OMDC for setting up of beneficiation and pelletisation plants that will involve a capital expenditure of R10,000 crores in the next 3-5 years time. Nevertheless, the role will also be important and significant in the light of new MMDR Act.
Can you elaborate on the areas where KIOCL is contemplating to diversify?
KIOCL, basically being a mine and steel based-public sector undertaking (PSU), once played an important role in its core
sector in taking further the process of pelletisation in the country. However, we are contemplating opening up some new verticals wherein there are less number of players and ample scope for business for one and all such as e-commerce, solar energy, eco tourism to name a few.
What plans do you have for acquiring mines abroad?
KIOCL being a PSU under the ministry of steel is also a partner in prospecting and looking for valuable mining assets abroad along with its sister PSUs such as NMDC, MOIL and SAIL. In the past, we have made some efforts in West Africa for scouting iron ore assets which has not been very encouraging due to size of investment and logistics. However, recently a team from steel ministry had made an effort for scouting mining assets in South American countries such as Brazil, Peru and Chile and we are very much a member of this consortium which is looking into various aspects of due diligence for acquisition of such assets.
How do you see the future of the steel industry vis-à-vis KIOCL?
KIOCL, being a premier beneficiation and pellet export PSU and pellets being an intermediary product between iron ore and steel, the role of KIOCL in enhancing the production capacity of steel making in the country will be significant. The steel production capacity is projected to grow to 125.9 million tonnes by 2016-17 and hence utilisation of pellets in the steel making will be very essential since the importance of iron ore fines will play a great role in future in steel making.