ArcelorMittal to begin work for Karnataka plant by next month

Written by Promit Mukherjee | Updated: Feb 27 2014, 11:05am hrs
A year after ArcelorMittal called off its $12-billion investment in Odisha, its biggest in India, the company has now firmed up its plans for Karnataka with work at the site expected to start by March.

ArcelorMittal India received possession certificates for 2,659 acres of private land... This leaves a balance of 136.33 acres of land owned by the Karnataka government, which is being processed for allocation expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2014, said the company's annual report released on Wednesday.

It said the company is also in the process of finalising the subcontractor agreements related to the fencing and safeguarding of the entire land in Karnataka, which are expected to start during the first quarter of 2014. This essentially means by March 2014, the company will be completing the necessary preliminary requirements of starting the ground work which can then start by the second quarter of the current calendar year.

If the going goes smooth from here, it will be the company's first project to take off since its proposed $10-billion Jharkhand steel project, announced in 2005, which has still not taken off despite tweaking the proposed plant capacity, and its second project the 12 million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel plant in Odisha has been called off due to land acquisition and clearance woes.

ArcelorMittal plans to invest up to $6.5 billion to set up a 6 mtpa steel plant and a 750 megawatt power plant in Karnataka. The Karnataka government has also approved the projects use of water from the Tungabhadra River. It has applied for mining leases, although following a recent SC order relating to illegal mining activities in Karnataka, and new mining legislation proposed by the Centre, allocation of new mining leases in Karnataka has been put on hold.

A mail sent to the company for response remained unanswered.

However, the annual report said the company has already initiated a draft feasibility report for the contemplated steel plant that has been completed and hydrological and environmental impact assessment studies have been started.

Although the Jharkhand investment has not been called off, the company has tweaked the investment and capacity plan for the state so that it can achieve a faster turnaround in its plans. Under the new plan, it will set up its plant in modules of 3 mtpa which will require smaller parcel of land to start with. the first stage for which adequate land is sought under the State Government Consent Award Scheme. Under this scheme, the State Government would facilitate the legal transfer of land for a project after an investor has secured the landowners consent to the sale of the land, said the annual report.