NMDC) and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form a joint venture for the development of limestone mines in the sensitive hill region of Arki in Himachal Pradesh.
The MoU for the 50:50 joint venture was signed in the presence of Union Minister for Steel Virbhadra Singh, Union Minister of State for Steel A. Sai Prathap, Steel Secretary Atul Chaturvedi, SAIL Chairman S. K. Roongta and NMDC Chairman-cum-Managing Director Rana Som. The Arki mine has deposits of about 100 million tonnes of quality limestone. The SAIL-NMDC joint venture will develop the mine to produce three million tonnes of limestone annually.
While the low-silica limestone lumps will be used by SAIL and NMDC as flux for steel making, the fines would be sold in the market.
The cement industry has a huge demand for limestone fines.
SAIL on Monda cut prices of some of its products, used primarily by the automobile and the white goods industry, by a further Rs 500 a tonne mainly on weak global demand.
“We have cut out flat steel prices by an additional Rs 500 a tonne mainly on the softening global trend. I don’t expect prices to fall from this level and it would stabilise at this level,” Steel Authority of India Limited Chairman SK Roongta told reporters here.
Earlier this month, the PSU had reduced prices of its flat steel products in the range of Rs 750-1,500 a tonne.
The total cut in flat product prices for the month of November would now be in the range of Rs 1,250 to Rs 1,500 per tonne, instead of the earlier announced Rs 750 to Rs 1,500 per tone reduction in the rate, a SAIL spokesperson added.
Another leading steel maker Tata Steel has reduced the prices of its products in the same range.
Even though prices of long steel products had not been cut, steel makers say the rates in this segment continues to be under pressure.
In September, these firms had revised the prices of their products upward by up to Rs 1,500 a tonne.