Global Steel to form JV with CIL

Written by Anupama Airy | New Delhi, May 12 | Updated: May 13 2008, 06:39am hrs
Global Steel Holdings Ltd, the holding company of Ispat Industries Ltd has proposed to enter into a joint venture with Coal India Ltd (CIL) for exploring and developing new coal blocks in India and also rehabilitating and operating the abandoned coal mines using the latest state-of-the-art technology.

Global Steel, owned by Pramod Mittal, is engaged in the operation and management of 13-million tonne steel production company. The company has its operations spread in India, Nigeria, Bulgaria, the Philippines, Libya and Bosnia, where the assets are being utilised for the production of steel and allied products, for mining of minerals apart from operating major raw material processing facilities for coke in Bosnia and Nigeria. In a letter to the Prime Minister, he stated, "Global Steel is expressing its intention and interest to participate with CIL for development and operation of abandoned coal mines, as well as exploration and exploitation of new unexplored coal blocks."

Explaining the details, he said that the concept plan for rehabilitation and development envisages a new life for abandoned coal mines with left-over coals especially coking coal. A study is proposed to be undertaken in joint venture with CIL to asses the left-over coal reserves in various mines which have been abandoned due to underground fire, surface subsidence flooding or because of lack of safety etc, leading to substantial loss of coal.

Mittal has told the coal ministry that he proposes to bring in new technology like leaching, hydraulic fracturing, improved wall mechanisation etc for improvement of productivity and safety particularly for exploitation of left-over coal in order to make it economically profitable.

With around 95 billion tonne of reserves, Indias production of coal is currently at the level of 400 million tonne, with demand outstripping domestic supply. The current investment commitment in the coal sector already stands at around $28-40 billion over the next two decades. However, the most worrying trend is the huge rise in coal imports, which have doubled in the last five years from 20 million tons to almost 50 million tonne. Coking coal imports have been the mainstay of Indian coal imports on account of inferior quality of domestic coal.

Mittal also stated, in his letter to the PM, that his group has an established presence in mineral development sector worldwide.

The company is engaged in exploration and development of iron ore reserves of more than two billion tonne in Brazil and Nigeria. The company is also developing a coking coal block in Columbia with a capacity of one million tonne per year in joint venture with a Columbian company.

In Mozambique, two coking coal blocks have been allotted to the group and are currently under exploration.