SAIL-NMDC to jointly mine limestone in HP at Rs 200 crore

SAIL-NMDC to jointly mine limestone in HP at Rs 200 crore New Delhi: Two top PSUs under the steel ministry -- SAIL and NMDC -- have agreed to jointly develop and mine Arki limestone reserves in Himachal Pradesh with an estimated investment of Rs 200 crore.

"We will sign an MoU with SAIL for jointly developing and mining high-grade limestone from Arki reserves in the state.

This will entail an estimated investment of Rs 200 crore," NMDC Chairman and Managing Director Rana Som told a news agency.

Som, however, did not say when the MoU could be signed and when do the PSUs want to start mining.

Arki mines, which are in the home-state of Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh, have an estimated reserves of 200 million tonnes of limestone.

Asked if the agreement between the two firms could be signed shortly, SAIL Chairman S K Roongta said, "as of now, it has been decided that an MoU will be signed with NMDC to mine limestone there."

However, it is learnt that the ministry wants the PSUs to start the development work on the mines at the earliest.

The Arki limestone is steel-grade limestone used in the process of making steel. And SAIL is a ready consumer as it is undertaking Rs 70,000 expansion project to take its annual steel production capacity to about 23 million tonnes from about 14 million tonnes at present.

The limestone fines could also be sold to the cement industry for which it is a vital input.

Bureau Report