Tata Metaliks identifies land in Karnataka for steel project


Kharagpur (West Bengal) : Pig iron manufacturer Tata Metaliks, which plans to establish an integrated steel plant in Karnataka, has identified land for this some 300 km from Bangalore, a top company official said here Saturday.

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“We had appointed (consultancy firm) Mecon to find a suitable place for us in Karnataka. It has identified the Bellary-Hospet iron belt,” said Harsh K. Jha, managing director of Tata Metaliks, a subsidiary of Tata Steel.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the plant inauguration of Tata Metaliks Kubota Pipes, a joint venture with two Japanese companies to manufacture ductile iron pipes.

“Ten days ago, the Karnataka government gave its consent for 900 acres. We haven’t yet chalked out investment plans for the steel plant,” Jha added.

“We are planning an integrated steel facility that will consist of ductile iron pipe plant and a pig iron plant and may also have a billet plant,” he said.

The company has also applied for a licence to mine iron ore in the region for the proposed steel project.

Earlier, Tata Metaliks had asked for land from the West Bengal government in 2004-05 for constructing a 500,000-tonne per annum billet plant and had even made an advance payment of Rs.95 million (Rs.9.5 crore).

“We wanted 500 acres adjacent to the Tata Metaliks plant in Kharagpur. But we didn’t hear anything from them,” Jha said, adding that a few days ago, the company had communicated to the state government that it was no longer interested in constructing the plant in West Bengal.

“They asked us to reconsider our decision,” Jha said, adding: “There is no end-point to this bargaining.”

Tata Metaliks Kubota Pipes is a joint venture between Tata Metaliks (51 percent), Kubota Corp of Japan (44 percent) and Metal One Corp, also of Japan, (5 percent) and has been set up with an investment of Rs.185 crore (Rs.1.85 billion).

The company is also looking at starting work for the second phase of the plant to take up the capacity to 250 million tonnes annually from the present 110 million tonnes.

The trial run for production in the plant started Saturday.

According to an agreement with Kubota, 20 percent of the production will be exported to the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa, regions that the Japanese company caters to. The Indian plant was set up as it is not cost-competitive for Kubota to export from Japan.