MAC: Mines and Communities

Bhp Ropes In Usha Martin For Mining

Published by MAC on 2006-02-10
Source: The Telegraph ()

BHP ropes in Usha Martin for mining

by The Telegraph (Calcutta), Bhattacharya: Upbeat

10th February 2006

BHP of Australia, the world's largest miners, has teamed up with city-based Usha Martin Ltd for mining and downstream activities in Jharkhand. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Usha Martin and BHP Billiton Minerals Holding Pty on February 8 to jointly explore opportunities there. Jharkhand has a large deposit of iron ore and coal. According to a study by the Confederation of Indian Industry and McKinsey, Jharkhand has 29 and 23 per cent of India's total coal and iron ore reserves, respectively. "We are primarily looking at the iron ore mining and downstream activities in that state," a BHP official said. For Usha Martin, a leading manufacturer of wire and wire rope, it is a significant diversification in business. The company has forayed into captive mining of iron ore only in the last quarter. It is also working on a coal mine for captive use. However, mining is not its core activity. BHP has been eyeing the Indian iron ore mining leases for a long time but is yet to get a toe hold. At present, it has a marketing operation in the country, trading in minerals like coking coal and others. The company is yet to get a mining lease. There was a speculation that it will team up with Korean steel firm Posco to undertake mining activity for the latter in Orissa. However, the venture never saw the light of the day. There is a strong political lobby against engaging foreign companies in Indian mining sector and, particularly, exporting it. Usha Martin is the first company to get allocation of iron ore mine from Jharkhand. The company has a reserve of a 10 million tonne mine, which is high on iron content, in the Barbill area (VijayaII). P. Bhattacharya, deputy managing director of Usha Martin, said his company's long-standing association with Jharkhand and good track record attracted the mining giant to partner with it.

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