This is a discussion on Rio Tinto within the Product And Services forums, part of the Miscellaneous category; Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group, which withdrew in 2002 from a joint venture with the state-run Orissa Mining Corporation ...
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group, which withdrew in 2002 from a joint venture with the state-run Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), is keen on the project's revival, an official has said.
"The group has submitted a proposal to the Orissa Mining Corporation but at this point I cannot disclose details about it," Sanjeev Chopra, OMC managing director, told.
The proposal was submitted about six months ago and the state government is considering it, he said. Asked if Rio Tinto, the world's second largest mining company, had shown interest in any other ventures, Chopra said: "I cannot say anything about it now."
In 1995, the group had formed a joint venture with the OMC for production of 15 million tonnes of iron ore annually from the Gandhamardan and Malangtoli deposits - two open-pit iron ore mines in Keonjhar district.
The project involved mining lease of the Gandhamardan and Malangtoli mines, dedicated rail link to Paradip Port on the state's eastern coast and development of the port. However, the project was shelved after Rio Tinto withdrew in 2002, declaring that the quality of the ore was not good enough.
The company had also faced some trouble from locals who accused it of operating in a forested area. Moreover, issues regarding rail and port development and direct export of iron ore could not be resolved.
With the growing global demand for steel and rising prices, Orissa is attracting investments from leading companies for its rich mineral resources.
The state government has assured investors that they would be able to operate in a constructive and helpful environment, another top OMC official said.
Some 35 companies have signed agreements with the government in the past five years to set up steel plants. The projects together would result in the production of 16 million tonnes of steel a year.
While eight companies signed agreements promising a total investment of Rs.20 billion ($460 million) this week, the state government has also signed two Memoranda of Understanding for steel projects.
Essar Group's Hy-Grade Pellets Ltd plans a plant with a four million tonne per annum capacity while Tube Investment India Ltd of the Murugappa Group will set up a plant with a 1.2 million tonne per annum capapcity.
South Korean steel major Pohang Steel Company (Posco) has also shown interest in setting up a Rs.400 billion steel plant, possibly at Paradip.