The proposed titanium sponge production unit will ensure faster economic growth of the State and overall development of the region, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

Inaugurating a function held here on Thursday for signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) for setting up a titanium sponge production unit with an investment of Rs.2,500 crore, Mr. Chandy said this was one of the dream projects of the State. The State was unable to exploit its mineral resources of world-class standards. This was a failure of the State.

The State was manufacturing titanium sponge only in a limited quantity, but once the project with SAIL materialised, it would pave the way for a major development in this regard. The steps for setting up the unit were initiated once the government assumed office and it became more clear with the conduct of the Emerging Kerala summit in Kochi.

Minister for Industries P.K. Kunhalikuty said that more investments would be brought to the State by joining hands with the Central PSUs. This would create more job opportunities too, he said.

The project has been planned in a phased manner. In the first phase, setting up of a titanium sponge and metal plant based on the supply of titanium tetrachloride by KMML will be considered. Subsequently, backward and forward integration will be explored for ensuring long-term viability of the project.

SAIL chairman C.S. Verma said the State government and SAIL shared a long association and it was on the lookout for new business opportunities in the areas of its competency. The signing of MoU is a first step in this score.