India's biggest blast furnace is set to go on stream at the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) in Odisha soon, according to the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) chairman Chandra Sekhar Verma.
Verma, who was in Bhubneshwar to hold discussions with chief minister Naveen Patnaik on certain issues relating to SAIL's iron ore mines at Bolani in Keonjhar and Barsuan-Kalta in Sundargarh, told mediapersons on Saturday, that RSP's modernisation and expansion work would be over by June-July.
"We are investing around Rs 12,000 cr at RSP. The steel capacity will go up to 4.5 to 5million tonne per annum (MTPA)," he said. "The country's biggest blast furnace with a capacity of 4,060 cubic metre will be functional at RSP in June-July this year," he added.
RSP's existing capacity was around 2.2 MTPA. Regarding SAIL's proposed joint venture with South Korean steel company Posco, Verma said, "You will get good news about it very soon."
He described the talks with Posco as "positive", and said the two parties had arrived at a consensus on various issues pertaining to the proposed 3 MTPA steel units at Bokaro in Jharkhand. According to sources cited by Times of India, the proposed joint venture had been held up for the past two years due to differences over sharing of Posco's Finex technology for steel making with SAIL.
The paper further said quoting the sources that Verma had had discussions with Patnaik about Bolani iron ore mines, where the state government stopped operations recently after the expiry of the three-month temporary working permit given to SAIL.