Steel Authority of India (SAIL) Chairman C. S. Verma has asked Maharashtra Elektrosmelt Ltd. (MEL), the only subsidiary of the ‘Maharatna' steel major, to draw up an expansion plan to ensure that ferro-alloy requirements of its integrated steel plants that are now in the capacity expansion mode are met in full.

According to a SAIL statement here, higher production of ferro-alloys by MEL following expansion of its capacity at a cost of about Rs.1,000 crore would go a long way in meeting the raw material security concerns of the public sector steel major. MEL, located at Chandrapur in Maharashtra, is the country's largest manganese-based ferro-alloys producer with a product-mix that includes carbon ferro-manganese and silico-manganese. The process of its amalgamation with SAIL is in the final stage.

On a visit to Chandrapur last weekend to firm up the MEL's annual business plan, Mr. Verma indicated that its expansion programme should provide for setting up of two new furnaces to not only cater to the post-expansion raw material needs of SAIL plants but also other steel units in the country. The total investment outlay would come to about Rs.500 crore, he said while assuring MEL that funds would not be a constraint as SAIL would extend full support to MEL's expansion plans.

Addressing MEL employees during his visit, Mr. Verma said that since the company was in the process of becoming a SAIL unit, it should also explore the possibility of setting up facilities to produce ferro-nickel for the integrated steel plants.

Power plant

Since power constitutes about 35-40 per cent of the cost of production of ferro-manganese, SAIL is also planning to set up a power plant.