The formation of first government in Telangana has generated lot of curiosity here as Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, considered the pride of Visakhapatnam, has pinned lot of hopes on sourcing iron ore from Bayyaram and two other areas in Telangana to achieve, albeit, partly raw material security.
RINL, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, is the only major steel producer in the country without captive mines. Presently, it sources ore from NMDC’s Bailadilla mines in Chhattisgarh. RINL has been recently sanctioned mining blocks with 260 million tonne reserves in Bhilwara of Rajasthan.
On April 17, 2013 the Kiran Kumar Reddy Government issued a memo for allotment of mines in 5,341 hectares at Bayyaram (Khammam), Guduru (Warangal) and Bheemadevarapalli (Karimnagar). However, as promised the joint venture agreement between AP Mineral Development Corporation and RINL, a Navratna company, could not be signed due to ruckus raised in Telangana mainly by Telangana Rashtra Samiti which insisted on cancellation of memo and setting up of a steel plant at Bayyaram instead of shifting iron ore to Seemandhra.
With bifurcation becoming a reality and APMDC getting split into two, the joint venture for exploration of iron ore looks a distant dream. RINL officials, while not committing on setting up of a steel plant at Bayyaram, say they will invest Rs.1,000 crore on pelletisation and other facilities creating direct and indirect jobs for 1,000 people.
“No scientific exploration has been made so far in Bayyaram area. Only after we sign agreement with Telangana Mineral Development Corporation after its formation we will invest on various facilities depending on availability of iron ore,” an official pointed out.
RINL is ramping up various units under 6.3 million tonne expansion project, which has been completed last year at a cost of Rs.12,500 crore. It is investing an estimated Rs.22,000 crore to increase capacity by another four million tonne through modernisation, capital repairs of blast furnaces and next phase of expansion.