AM/NS India, the 60:40 joint venture between the world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal and Japan's Nippon Steel Corp, has confirmed its plans of setting up a 12 million tonnes per annum (mnt pa) greenfield steel plant in Odisha but in a phased manner. This project will be part of the government's Mission Purvodaya, launched in 2020.
However, there is no clear indication yet on the timeline or deadline by when the plant should be commissioned. It is not yet clear as to the kind of products that would be manufactured at this plant while the company informed that full-scale steel-making facilities with downstream capabilities would be looked at. Steel Minister Pradhan, on his part, had tweeted that - AMNS India has evinced interest in expanding its investment footprints to the tune of INR 50,000 crore in Odisha, especially in the areas of value added & special steels.
The investment envisaged in Odisha is INR 50,000 crore and the land required is estimated to be 250 hectare. The project is expected to generate employment for an estimated 70,000 individuals, around 15,000 of which is likely to be in direct form.
The government had been proposing to the company on investing in Odisha, one of India's most mineral-rich and the highest iron ore producing state. The new plant is a fructifying of these exhortations, it is learnt. The proposal took a concrete form when the Steel Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, visited the steel major's Hazira complex in January this year. During this visit, the leadership at AM/NS India had made a detailed presentation to the minister on the company's future plans and its ambitions to significantly enhance contribution to the Atmanirbhar Bharat vision.
Speaking exclusively to SteelMint, Dilip Oommen, Chief Executive Officer, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India, said -Odisha is one of the key markets for us. AM/NS India will be making investments in a phased manner for all the expansion projects in the state. Our engagements with the Odisha government and the steel ministry are very progressive and we envision full-scale steel-making facilities with downstream capabilities in the state.
The exact location of the plant has not yet been identified but keeping in mind that AM/NS India already has the pellet plant in Paradip, the same location could be a good choice. However, there is no excess land in the pellet plant complex for accommodating a greenfield steel plant. Hence, the company will have to acquire fresh land. Of course, the plant can be set up in any other location within Odisha but Paradip could be advantageous since it is nearer to the seaport which will make the project more cost efficient.
Interestingly, this is the second time that ArcelorMittal is evincing interest in investing in a plant in Odisha. Earlier, it had planned to set up a similar 12 mtpa greenfield plant in the Keonjhar district of Odisha by 2006. However, the company had abandoned the plan in 2013 on delays in the land acquisition process and lack of assurance on a captive iron ore mine at that juncture.
Pellet Plant Expansion
However, it is also learnt that, at this juncture, doubling of the capacity of the 6 million mtpa pellets plant at Paradip to 12 mtpa is a priority for the company. The expansion is slated for completion by the end of the current fiscal and operations will start in the second half (H2) of 2021-22, a company official informed.
AM/NS India is on track on the Paradip pellet plant capacity expansion to 12 mtpa in Odisha from the current 6 mtpa. With an assured supply of high-quality iron ore from the beneficiation unit at Dabuna, the plant's proximity to the Paradip Port ensures that the pellets are effectively shipped to our integrated steel plant in Hazira, Gujarat. The project, to be completed in the coming months, is in line with our long-term goal to make AM/NS India self-reliant by boosting strategic raw material security. We are positive and hopeful about India's growing demand for steel and this addition will only strengthen our position in the market, Oommen told SteelMint.
Apart from the Paradip facility, AM/NS India also has an 8-mtpa pellets making facility at Vizag. Post-Paradip plant expansion, the total pellets capacity will increase to 20 mtpa.