Jindal Steel in pact to jointly sell Rio Tinto's HIsmelt technology

Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.(JSPL) said Friday, it has signed a pact with Rio Tinto PLC to use and jointly market the HIsmelt technology for making steel.

HIsmelt, short for high-intensity smelting, is the world's first commercial direct smelting process for making iron straight from the ore. The technology smelts iron ore fines directly using non-coking coals, and offers significant economic and environmental benefits to the steel industry, the company said in a statement.

Local steel plants mainly depend on iron ore lumps and imported coking coal to produce steel as the country lacks huge reserves of the fossil fuel and the technology to utilize the abundant powdery iron ore fines. Coking coal and iron ore are two key ingredients in making steel.

Jindal Steel will use the HIsmelt technology at its upcoming 6.0 million metric tons plant at Angul in Orissa state.

The agreement entails relocating the existing Kwinana HIsmelt plant from Australia to India at JSPL's existing facility in Orissa. The plant will be fully owned by JSPL.

The HIsmelt technology is fully owned by Rio Tinto. The Kwinana HIsmelt plant is owned by a joint venture between majority stake-holder Rio Tinto, Nucor Corporation that holds another 25 per cent, and Mitsubishi Corporation and Shougang Corporation that own 10 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.