New Delhi: Unable to get regulatory approvals for its proposed USD 30 billion investment, world's largest steel maker ArcelorMittal has for the time being put on hold its India business plans.
"It is very difficult to say any thing... When will start the construction, when we will really make the progress. We are not even counting them in our business plans for the next few years," he said while announcing the results for 2011 in a conference call.
The world's largest steelmaker has plans to build 2 mega steel plants of 12 million tonnes each in Jharkhand and Odisha, and one 6 MT plant in Karnataka at a total estimated investment of Rs 1,30,000 crore (USD 30 billion).
However marred by regulatory delays and problems in land acquisition, the company has put its Odisha plans on the back burner. In September, 2010, it also shifted its plant site in Jharkhand from Khunti-Gumla to Bokaro.
Noting that ArcelorMittal is still in the process of securing various regulatory approvals, Mittal further said that his company is waiting for a clear picture to emerge on various government policy initiatives like new mining bill.
The new mining bill, tabled in Parliament in the winter session, has proposed to levy an amount equal to 100 percent royalty payments for the non-coal mining companies as compensation for the project affected people.
"New bills are coming in Parliament... There is a new policy for coal allocation. So, we are really watching the various developments and rules and regulations (that are) coming in. Then only we will have the visibility about the projects in India," he said.
Last year, the company had made some progress in Jharkhand as it had started drilling operations in Seregarha coal block and was prospecting Karampada iron ore mines, which is estimated to hold 200 million tonnes of ore.
Besides, land acquisition for its 6-MTPA plant in Karnataka, being processed by Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB), was also on.
However, the mining ban imposed by the Supreme Court in the Southern state last year has put a question mark on the project as a court appointed panel has recommended to cap Karnataka's annual iron ore production at 30 million tonnes
and cancellation of 49 licenses.
The ArcelorMittal chief also said that Indian steel demand has not been "very impressive" despite GDP growing at 6.5-7 percent rate.
"The demand should have gone up by one-anda-a half times for a developing economy like our country, which we have not seen... because we need lot of infrastructure approvals for construction," he said.
First Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 18:24