New Delhi, India — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 December 2010 – Steel Authority of India Limited “’ the nation’s second-largest producer “’ is talking with a state-run South African company to set up a steel plant here to tap the resources of the continent’s biggest producer of the metal.
“The company is considering building a 3 to 5Mtpa plant if the South African government agrees to grant iron ore and coking coal mining permits,” steel secretary Pradeep Kumar Misra said in an interview here.
Indian steel companies “’ including Tata Steel Limited and Jindal Steel & Power Limited “’ are seeking fast-growing foreign markets as delays in mine allocations and land purchases hinder their projects back home. Steel production in South Africa, which accounts for half of the continent’s output, climbed 14% in the year to November, according to the Brussels-based World Steel Association.
“The South African government has proposed a joint venture plant with Steel Authority, and has promised iron ore and coking coal mines for it. We are exploring that idea,” said Misra, who accompanied Steel Authority chairman C.S. Verma on a trip to South Africa last week.
Verma didn’t answer calls made to his cell phone, while a Steel Authority spokesman declined to comment.
ArcelorMittal South Africa Limited “’ the South African unit of the world’s largest steelmaker “’ is South Africa’s biggest producer of the material, accounting for nearly 70% of output.
“Besides the joint venture proposal, Steel Authority also had discussions on the acquisition of a coking coal mine in South Africa, and possibly buying the fuel from there,” Misra said.
Steel Authority’s own mines currently meet its iron ore needs, while it depends largely on imports for coking coal, the fuel used to run steel plant blast furnaces.
India’s steel ministry is also in discussions about mining manganese ore in South Africa, as the country’s largest producer, MOIL Limited, gears up to meet the rising demand.
“MOIL Limited and NMDC Limited are in talks to jointly bid for manganese ore mines in South Africa,” said Dalip Singh, joint secretary at the steel ministry. India needs to secure supplies of manganese ore, a key ingredient in steel, as it plans to increase manufacturing capacity of the alloy by almost 67% to 120Mt by 2012.