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Mittal plants ready for 2008 takeoff

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 27: ArcelorMittal is expected to go ahead with its greenfield steel projects both in Orissa and Jharkhand, with the Orissa project to begin from next year.

“We would start construction as soon as the detailed project report is ready,” said chief executive officer Sanak Mishra at an international steel conference today.

“Preparation of the report has been entrusted to the Dastur & Company and is at an advanced stage. It is expected to be ready by the middle of October,” said the India chief of the UK-based steel major. The project’s first phase would take an estimated 48 months from the time of the report submission, he said, adding that the first phase would be commissioned by 2011-12.

“The project’s progress is going according to schedule. We would be getting back to the Orissa government by October to apprise them about the progress,” said Mishra.

Parrying questions on the Chiria mines (Jharkhand) controversy, ArcelorMittal’s India CEO said: “We have identified three ore blocks out of which we are zeroing in on one.” Giving a status report of the Jharkhand project, he said: “The blueprint is ready.” The concept study and site identification has been prepared by HATCH, while Mecon undertook the site suitability study, he added.

ArcelorMittal had signed an MoU with the Jharkhand government in October, 2005 for setting up of 12MTPA greenfield plant along with a 1,500MW captive power plant.

A year later, it signed another MoU with Orissa for a green field steel plant of the same capacity and investment.

At the news meet today, the CEO said Mecon subsequently completed Orissa’s land selection study, initially undertaken by HATCH. Sparc did the land schedule documentation work.

The site for the proposed 12MTPA plant has been selected in Patna tehsil of mineral-rich Keonjhar and the preliminary process of land acquisition is on, he added.

Mishra clarified that the company had not asked for more land, as reported in some newspapers. “The actual requirement would be known once the project report is ready,” he said.

In the MoU, the state government has committed to provide 8,000 acre for the project in Patna tehsil of Keonjhar.

While 6,000 acre would be required for the plant, 1,000 acre each would be needed for the CPP and civil township. Ecosmart is preparing the rehabilitation and resettlement plan and its expected to be submitted by October end.

Mishra, who has been negotiating with the Orissa government, said the company had applied for the captive mine lease for the steel plant.

But, he did not specify any ore block.

“We will be talking to the government shortly. The government would recommend the lease for us,” he added.

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