NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources is mulling a 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) steel plant in Karnataka, which may entail an investment of Rs 30,000 crore.
The mining and metals conglomerate has already initiated a feasibility study for its proposed foray into the steel sector through a joint venture, but is yet to commence talks with a potential partner, said a source.
“The company is looking at all opportunities to grow in iron and steel sector. As far as steel—making is concerned, it looks very serious about development of Bellary Steel. It owns 700 acres and is looking at a stage-wise increase and may put up a five mtpa steel plant,” he said.
Mr. Agarwal is likely to announce the plan at the company’s Annual General Meeting slated for August 1 in London. A senior official, when contacted, declined to comment on the issue.
India’s largest iron ore producer and maker of various non-ferrous metals such as aluminium and zinc, Vedanta had in 2011 acquired the assets of Bellary Steel and Alloys (BSAL) for Rs 220 crore through a competitive bidding process.
Iron ore is one of the key raw materials for steel-making and having a captive source helps a company remain competitive.
Headquartered in Bangalore, BSAL had embarked on setting up an integrated steel plant, with five lakh tonnes per annum capacity and a provision of taking it to 2 mtpa at Bellary. It however, could not complete the project and ran into debt.
The source said the company understood to be open to joint venture and “all kinds of collaborations because it believes that mining expert should do mining and steel expert should do steel making.”
He added however that Vedanta is “not known to be speaking to any company at the moment.”
On the costs, industry sources said that it generally takes USD 1 billion (around Rs 6,000 crore) investment to create 1 mtpa steel-making capacity.
Vedanta has already commenced the feasibility study for the project and is expected to get the report “very soon.”
Mr. Agarwal had in 2010 announced the company’s plan to foray into steel-making in partnership with Larsen and Toubro by setting up a 5 mtpa plant in Odisha.
The company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state government to set up the plant at Palasponga in Keonjhar district in two phases.