July 13th (Business Standard) – JSW Steel, the country’s third largest steel maker, will explore the possibility of importing iron ore from its mine in Chile and sell it in the local market.

The Sajjan Jindal-controlled company had secured prospecting licences through its Netherland-based subsidiary to explore and exploit magnetite iron ore deposits in northern Chile’s Atacama region.

“We will explore the possibility of selling Chilean iron ore in India. The Chile plant will act as a natural hedge to iron ore selling in India,” said a top company executive.

The company has paid $52 million (about Rs 200 crore) for acquiring mining licences spread. The move was part of the company’s efforts to augment captive sources of iron ore and coal for its local steelmaking operations.

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June 30th (Business Standard) – JSW Steel, a part of the $8-billion OP Jindal Group, is all set to invest Rs 6,000 crore in the current financial year to acquire iron ore mines in the American and African continents and increase existing capacity.

The company, which manufactures flat steel products like hot-rolled coils, cold-rolled coils, galvanised steel sheets and auto-grade steel, currently produces around 4.8 million tonnes of steel a year from its Vijayanagar plant in Karnataka and the Salem facility in Tamil Nadu.

“By the end of this year, the capacity at these two plants will increase to around 8 million tonnes and by 2010 to 10 million tonnes. We will shortly be setting up steel plants in West Bengal and Jharkhand and this will increase our production to 32 million tonnes by 2020,” said JSW Steel CEO Y Siva Sagar Rao at a press conference convened to announce the inauguration of the company’s two retail outlets in Bangalore.

Rao added that the company has secured financial commitments for the capital expenditure.

The company plans to start work on the steel plant in West Bengal in the next three months.

“We had some problems with regard to land acquisition, but that has been solved now and we have the land. We are in the process of tying up with a mine owner in Orissa and have alerted coal suppliers too. The first phase of the plant will be completed in 30 months,” Rao said.

The plant will initially produce 6 million tonnes of steel each year, which will subsequently touch 10 million tonnes. In Jharkhand too, the company is grappling with problems pertaining to land acquisition. The overall investment for these plants is Rs 40,000 crore each, he said.

Forecasting a sharp rise in the country’s steel consumption in the near future, Rao said the company is gearing up to meet the demand by ensuring steady supply of iron ore, the key raw-material, to its steel plants.

At present, per capita consumption of steel in the country is 47-50 kg as against the global average of 180 kg.

May 30 (Financial Express) – The Orissa government is all set to recommend the Khandadhar iron ore mines to South Korean steel major Posco. Its recommendation letter is likely to be dispatched some time in the first week of next month as all formalities related to the hand-over have been carried out.

There were as many 237 applicants for the mines. The state government on December 26, 2006, recommended Posco India to the Centre for a licence to carry out prospecting over 6204.352 hectares of the Khandadhar mines in Sundergarh district. The Centre initially rejected the state government’s recommendation of Posco.

In October 2007, the state government asked the applicants to submit their papers by the end of the month. There were initially 290 applicants for the mines, before the state government got rid of 53.

The major applicants were Central-sector Kudremukh Iron ore Company Ltd (KIOCL) and the Jindals. Sources in the government told FE, “Now that the formality is over, the state government will recommend Posco India to the Centre for a PL.” The state government, in fact, had given the Khandadhar mines to Central-sector Kudremukh Iorn Ore Co Ltd (KIOCL) for prospecting.

Three years ago, KIOCL, which comes under the control of the steel ministry, negotiated for a mining lease and entered into an agreement with state-run Kalinga Iron Works to set up a pelletisation plant. KIOCL had invested Rs 1.6 crore on drilling and prospecting Khandadhar mines. But the state government recommended Posco for a PL instead of KIOCL, which challenged the state government’s decision in the Orissa High Court.

May 23 (Myiris) – Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) is all set to get mining license for 20-billion tons of iron ore deposits of El Mutun mine in Bolivia, reports Economic Times.

JSPL signed a contract with the Bolivian government last year in July to develop El Mutun, which is considered to be the world`s largest iron ore mine with reserves of 40-billion tons.

Jindal Steel Bolivia SA (JSB), a wholly owned subsidiary of JSPL, has already commenced exploration work and now awaiting for mining license.

Shares of the company declined Rs 33.9, or 1.38%, to end at Rs 2431.15. The total volume of shares traded was 129,551 at the BSE.