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PSU foursome set for foreign coal venture

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By G.S. RADHAKRISHNA in Hyderabad
  • Published 8.04.07

Hyderabad, April 8: The National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) plans to set up a joint venture with PSUs Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, National Thermal Power Corporation and Coal India in overseas coal mining, its chairman and managing director B. Ramesh Kumar said here yesterday.

He said the four PSUs have agreed to hunt for coal blocks in South Africa and Australia, and the deal will be signed soon. He said NMDC will invest Rs 9,000 crore on an iron and steel plant at Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh, an integrated iron and power plant at Jagadalpur, Chhattisgarh, and a pellet plant at Donimalai, Karnataka.

“We are in talks with SAIL and RINL for setting up the integrated steel plant in Chattisgarh,” Kumar said.

He said NMDC plans to reduce iron ore exports by half to 3.5 million tonnes in 2007-08 from 6.04 million tones in the previous year, following a change in policy of the Centre towards more ore for domestic steel units.

NMDC plans to invest Rs 18,000 crore in the Eleventh plan on its expansion activities. “We plan to spend Rs 3,500 crore for building new infrastructure and open up new mines to increase iron ore production to 50 million tones (mt) from 27 mt tonnes by 2014-15,” the NMDC CMD said.

The company is taking up mining projects at Bailadilla, Chhattisgarh, and at Kumaraswamy, Karnataka. Each of these projects envisage an investment of Rs 300 crore.

Kumar said NMDC closed the fiscal with a profit before tax of approximately Rs 3,400 crore against Rs 2,770 crore last year. The turnover was Rs 4,150 crore, against Rs 3,711 crores of the previous year.

NMDC excavated 36.71 mt of ore and raised the supply to domestic industries to 22.50 mt against 18.80 mt in the previous year, which is 76 per cent of the output.

Last month NMDC had petitioned the government against the imposition of duty on iron ore exports, saying the levy would cause a loss of Rs 150 crore, according to PTI.

“The nmdc has written to the various ministries stating that its profit would come down by Rs 150 crore because of the duty in the coming year,” sources said. According to estimates, the duty imposed in the Union Budget has already resulted in decline in exports by 40 per cent in March.