Ruias-led Essar Steel on Wednesday said the output from its steel plant here will be progressively increased to 10 million tonnes by March, 2012, following the completion of ongoing expansion projects worth Rs. 21,700 crore.

In addition, the design capacity of Essar's pellet-making plant in Orissa is being simultaneously increased to ensure adequate supply of input material for the Hazira steel unit, Essar Steel CEO Malay Mukherjee told reporters here.

“By the end of this year, our production capacity here (Hazira) would be around 5.1-5.2 million tonnes. For the next 12 months, our concentration is on (expansion projects at) Hazira and Orissa only and they are in their last leg,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

Essar has so far spent around Rs. 15,700 crore out of its cumulative investment commitment of Rs. 21,700 crore on the Hazira expansion projects, he said

Out of this Rs. 6,000 crore, about Rs. 3,500 crore will be used to complete the ongoing expansion projects at the Hazira integrated steel plant, while the remaining amount will go toward augmenting pellet-manufacturing capacity at the Paradip plant to 12 million tonnes per annum.

He said the company recently commissioned a 1.73 million tonne blast furnace, as well as the first 2.5 million tonne phase of its 5 million tonne steel melt shop in Hazira.

The company plans to focus more on making specialised steel products used by the automobile manufacturing industry, as the expansion projects at Hazira will enable it to do so, he said.

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