New Delhi: To ensure raw material security for its upcoming steel plants in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, the state-run NMDC is looking at acquiring coking coal mines in the United States.
“We are looking at it but it is at a very initial stage ... it will take some time,” NMDC chairman Rana Som said when asked about company’s acquisition plans in the US.
He, however, declined to name the properties the Navratna firm has targeted or shortlisted for acquisition.
As per reports, the company is in talks with the promoters of some mid-sized coking coal mines in Pittsburg and Alabama in the US to do due diligence.
The first steel venture of the company - 3 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity Chhattisgarh plant, being constructed at a cost of Rs15,500 crore, is expected to be operational by 2014, while the construction work of the proposed 2 MTPA steel plant in Karnataka is expected to begin in 2012.
For the Karnataka plant, NMDC had inked a pact with Russia’s leading steel maker OJSC Severstal in December last year to jointly set up a steel plant with an initial capacity of 2 MT, expandable to 5 MT later at an estimated cost of Rs25,000 crore.
The company is also in talks with Tata Steel to ink an equal joint venture for setting up a 2 MTPA steel plant at Bastar in Chhattisgarh.
Last month, the NMDC chairman had said that the company is close to buying two iron ore mines in Australia, while it is targeting three coking coal assets in Australia, Mozambique and Albania.
“We are precisely targeting six assets, with primarily three iron ores and three for coal in Australia, Mozambique and Albania. We have already located and almost finalised acquisition of two iron ore assets,” Som had said.
The PSU, which accounts for 15% of the country’s total iron ore production, has targeted to produce 30 million tonnes of iron ore this fiscal.