On Rs.95-crore titanium sponge plant

ISRO bid to produce strategic materials for space programmeTitanium sponge is used for production of aerospace-grade titaniumThe plant to produce 500 tonnes of titanium sponge a year

Bangalore: As part of its efforts to indigenously produce strategic materials for its space programme, the Indian Space Research Organisation's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the State-run Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) for establishing a 500-tonne-a-year titanium sponge plant.

The Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad, developed the technology for the plant, the Bangalore-headquartered ISRO said in a statement on Tuesday.

VSSC Director B.N. Suresh and KMML Managing Director K.P. Rajendran signed the MoU in Thiruvnanthapuram on Monday in the presence of ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair and State Principal Secretary, Industries, T. Balakrishnan.

Titanium sponge, used for the production of aerospace-grade titanium, is a scarce raw material and is imported even as the country has a reserve of titanium-bearing minerals. In the absence of a plant to produce titanium sponge to meet the requirement of high quality aerospace applications, the mineral is mainly exported or converted into titanium oxide pigment with very little value addition.

The MoU is expected to give a thrust to titanium production in the country. Under the MoU, the production plant will be set up at KMML with necessary infrastructure to upgrade the plant to produce 1,000 tonnes a year at a cost of Rs.95 crores, funded by ISRO.

Mr. Madhavan Nair said the MoU was a major milestone in the indigenous production of strategic materials for aerospace applications. - PTI