Rs 15,000-crore aluminium park stuck as both parties ponder setting up of smelter

Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC)’s ambitious Rs 15,000-crore aluminium park in Kutch, Gujarat, is again staring at hurdles. GMDC wants to set up a one-million-tonne alumina refinery and a 50,00,000-tonne aluminium smelter. However, its partner, National Aluminium Company (Nalco), is wary of the smelter, as converting alumina into aluminium requires mega power generation.

Say it failed to make good on promises, including one related to the miner's growth

NMDC's sole foreign acquisition has hit a roadblock. A few shareholders in Australian company Legacy Iron Ore, acquired by NMDC in 2011, have sent it a notice, asking it to either fulfill the promises made during the acquisition, or leave. Speaking to Business Standard, a source close to the development said shareholders with at least 10 per cent stake in Legacy Iron Ore have threatened they would seek an extraordinary general meeting to vote out the three NMDC representatives from the Legacy Iron board.

PSU firm prefers to export the product board to take up the matter in its next meeting

After its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh was shut due to lack of bauxite, now operations at Vedanta’s aluminium smelter in Odisha have been hit by shortage of alumina. Time and again, Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) has asked National Aluminium Company Limited ( Nalco), which has surplus alumina, to sell it the commodity at a premium, but in vain. B L Bagra, director (finance) of Nalco, confirmed VAL had offered to pay a premium over Nalco’s export price. However, he added the company’s strategy was to export alumina. Others said Nalco’s move was triggered by the company’s reluctance to encourage competition. Nalco and VAL are competitors; both manufacture and sell aluminium.

The joint venture companies are yet to decide on the quantum of the bond or external commercial borrowings

NPCIL-Nalco Power Company Limited — a joint venture between Nalco and NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd) to set up nuclear plants —will raise a term loan of up to Rs 1,500 crore over the next three months to fund the construction of power generation capacities. The joint venture’s board met in Mumbai last week to take stock of the progress of the plant’s construction. B L Bagra, director (finance), Nalco said, “Initially, we are looking for Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 crore funding from various banks. We are in talks with the banks and hope to complete the process in the next two-three months.”

State-owned aluminium maker National Aluminium Co Ltd (Nalco), which cut up to eight per cent capacity last year, will shut more over the next fortnight.

“We are looking to shut down three-four per cent capacity, as the prices of imported and e-auctioned coal are unviable,” said B L Bagra, director (finance), Nalco. Aluminium requires huge quantities of power, generated by burning coal. Close to 12 per cent of Nalco’s coal requirement is met through imports and e-auction and the rest is supplied by state-run miner Coal India Ltd.

In India, steelmakers had to follow their global peers and cut steel prices by up to Rs 3,000 a tonne, or four to five per cent

For the steel industry, the near term looks uncertain. Though prices of raw materials such as iron ore and coking coal are rising, demand from the automobile, construction and capital goods sectors remains low. Through the last quarter, steel and raw material prices fell, owing to the crunch in global demand. However, now, coking coal and iron ore prices are on the rise again and steel companies have to take a hit on their margins till raw material prices moderate or demand improves. Then, they would have the room to pass on the high input costs to customers.

The company has got the entire 2,700 acres of land near Bellary, Karnataka

ArcelorMittal has finally crossed the biggest hurdle in setting up any project in India -- land. The company has got the entire 2,700 acres of land near Bellary, Karnataka, required for its steel plant from the state government. Bellary is the the rich iron ore district of Karnataka where most of the steel plants, including 10 million tonne plant of JSW Steel is located. The land has been acquired by the Karnataka government through Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) and the company has deposited Rs 260 crore with the government for the same.

The country's largest miner has decided to review prices every month now, instead of once every three months

Local steel makers were in for a surprise when NMDC Ltd, the country’s largest iron ore miner and supplier to most steel and sponge iron makers, announced a cut of up to 11 per cent in iron ore rates. However, NMDC has decided to review prices every month now, instead of once every three months, which was its earlier practice. This 2-11 per cent cut is valid only for October.

Forced to cut prices by 2-3% due to cheaper imports from Japan, Korea and China

At a time when the mining sector in Karnataka seems to be getting back on track, the steel sector faces another hurdle—pricing.
With global steel prices on a downswing, owing to low raw material rates, Indian companies are taking a hit on margins because of rising local iron ore rates. Domestic companies have also been forced to cut prices. In August, steel makers reduced prices by two to three per cent, not because of a slowdown in demand, but because of cheaper steel brought from Japan, Korea and China.

500 mn tonne worth of coal mines is target for acquisitions by 2020

International Coal Ventures Limited, or ICVL, was the epitome of India’s babudom running public sector undertakings (PSUs). Five major public PSUs — NTPC, SAIL, NMDC, Coal India and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam (RINL) — with a war chest of Rs 10,000 crore had come together for this initiative to buy coal blocks outside the country. However, since its inception on May 20, 2009, the venture has failed to acquire even a single asset. And, two of its integral members, Coal India and NTPC, have clarified they aren’t interested in being a part of ICVL any more.