The Rs 5,000-crore autograde steel plant in joint venture between SAIL and ArcelorMittal would be set up close to an automobile hub and final decision on the site is likely in three months, a top official today said. “It (SAIL, ArcelorMittal JV) is in the final stage now. Absolutely in the final stage,” Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma told PTI in an interview. Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and ArcelorMittal had in May, 2015 entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the possibility of setting up an autograde steel manufacturing facility under a joint venture in India. “There are two things that they (both the companies) have to do. One is commercial agreement between the two and second thing is that they have to zero in on the place where they will be putting up the plant. So that work is going on. So we are expecting it to be completed in may be in another two or three months,” the secretary said. A task force team comprising representatives from both SAIL and ArcelorMittal has been working on detailed due diligence and preliminary feasibility study and all other issues for setting up a joint venture company. When asked about the location of the proposed plant Sharma said, “that decision is happening. The two of them are looking at it. They have zeroed in on three sites. So (it would be at) one of the three sites. It will be closer to an auto hub. We have three auto hubs.” The secretary further said both the companies were inspecting and comparing the pros and cons of each site. “They have to see all pros and cons. They will prepare a matrix out of it and put a value to it and then decide which place suits them,” Sharma said.
Elaborating further, the secretary said SAIL took the technical advice on the proposed joint venture from Niti Aayog. “We took the technical advice from Niti Aayog…for administrative things we can understand but on technical issues it’s better that one takes an expert’s advice,” she asserted. The much-awaited JV between steel giant ArcelorMittal and state-run SAIL will also focus on producing specialised grade steel products for defence, space and automobiles. Earlier, an inter-ministerial group had reviewed the progress of the MoU.
The proposed JV will construct a cold rolling mill and other downstream finishing facilities in India, touted as one of the fastest-growing automotive markets in the world with production expected to double between 2014 and 2020, from 3.6 million units to 7.3 million units.