MAC: Mines and Communities

Posco & BHP Billiton have big plans in Orissa

Published by MAC on 2004-08-18

South Korea is one of the most aggressive consumers and producers of metals. Despite this, the growing investments of Korean companies in overseas mines are rarely scrutinised. Now Posco, the world's third biggest steel-maker, is targeting India and other south Asian countries in a bid to stay near the top. Its partner in Orissa will be BHPBilliton which has also announced its intention to construct a bauxite/alumina refinery in Kalahandi district. This is where Vedanta has already met strident community opposition to similar plans.

Posco, BHP Billiton have big plans in Orissa: talks held with CM for 10-m tonne steel plant, other projects

The Hindu Businessline, Bhubaneswar

August 18 2004

SOUTH Korean steel maker Posco and Australia's mining major BHP Billiton have jointly approached the Orissa Government with a proposal to set up a 10 million-tonne integrated steel plant in the State.

Apart from this, the two foreign giants have submitted proposals for iron ore mining and setting up of a coke plant.

The projects envisage an investment of about Rs 39,000 crore, according to official sources.

A high-level delegation from the two companies held long discussions with the Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik, at the State Secretariat on Tuesday evening.

The delegation organised a presentation showing highlights of the projects and the support they required from the State Government.

Among others who attended the meeting were the Steel and Mines Minister, Mr Padmanabha Behera, the Energy Minister, Mr Suryanarayan Patro, and the Chairman of Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Orissa Ltd (IPICOL), Mr Priyabrata Patnaik.

Company officials, however, were tight-lipped on details of the proposed projects.

"We are now holding initial level of dialogue with the various Departments and agencies of the State Government. It will take time for things to take shape,'' a company official said.

But official sources said that if the proposals are approved in time, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the steel project would be signed between the State Government and the two companies by year-end.

The Chief Minister has directed top officials to study the project proposals and submit a report.

The proposed steel plant will possibly be set up either at Duburi in Jajpur district or at Dhamra in Bhadrak district, according to Mr Priyabrata Patnaik of IPICOL, which plays a key role in facilitating investments in the State.

He said that the proposed steel plant, to be developed fully in nine years, would have a production capacity of three million tonnes initially.

It would have a production capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum by the end of the ninth year, and would help create employment for about 42,000 people.

Apart from the steel plant, the two companies have jointly submitted proposals to supply coke for the steel plants in the State.

They have also evinced interest in developing the Dhamra port.

Orissa, with largest deposits of iron ore, is now attracting more investment proposals from steel-making companies following a boom in the steel sector and State Government's decision to offer mining leases only to companies that will set up steel plants in the State.

In a separate plan, BHP Billiton is making efforts to set up an alumina plant at Kalrapat in the backward Kalahandi district.

In this project, the Australian company will have a partner from Orissa, Sulakshini Mines and Minerals.

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