NMDC to invest $1 billion on infrastructure

India’s National Mineral Development Corporation Limited (NMDC) is in the process of investing about One billion dollars on infrastructure in the next three years to help ramp up iron ore production, a senior official of the public sector undertaking told Hindu Business Line.

Amitava Mukherjee, Director (Finance), said that the cost of the upcoming 3-million tonne capacity steel plant would go up to Rs 19,000 crore against the estimated over Rs 15,500 at the time of conception. The iron ore miner has already invested nearly Rs 14,500 crore on the plant.

“The mine capacity is also being increased. We are investing about USD 1 billion…The production of steel-making would go from the current capacity of 146 million tonnes per annum to 300 MTPA, and I see a market in future in domestic ore consumption,” he said. “About USD 200 millions have already been invested in different projects. We expect all this (investment) to be completed by 2022 to 2023,” Mukherjee told PTI.

“At Bailadilla in Chhattisgarh, the company is creating a rapid wagon-loading system for evacuation and setting up a new slurry pipeline. It is also in the process of doubling of railway line between Kirundul and Kothavalasa (KK line),” he said.

The PSU is also setting up screening plants in Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.

NMDC expects to produce 31-32 million tonnes during the current fiscal. The miner suspended iron ore mining from its Donimalai mine following the Karnataka governments decision to impose 80 per cent premium on the ore sales from that mine.

NMDC, in November 2018, had moved the High Court challenging the Karnataka government decision on imposition of the premium on Donimalai ore. Hoping that the court decision would come in their favour, the NMDC official said that any verdict against the company may have a negative impact on merchant mining sector of the entire iron ore industry as it cannot afford to absorb higher premiums and it may set benchmark for future auction by other states.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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