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SAIL-POSCO deal for Jharkhand plant likely by May-end news
12 April 2010

Steel Authority of India Ltd and South Korea's Posco may sign a deal by the end of next month to set up an estimated Rs15,000 crore steel plant in Jharkhand, with the government offering all support to expedite the project.

"This is my desire - that a deal between SAIL and POSCO is finalised before SAIL chairman S K Roongta retires on 31 May," steel secretary Atul Chaturvedi told reporters in Ranchi on Saturday."We are ready to offer whatever support SAIL seeks for the purpose."

Chaturvedi was scheduled to lead a delegation to South Korea last week, but the trip was later cancelled. "If it does not happen during the tenure of the present chairman, there is a likelihood that it could get delayed as a new person would take charge of SAIL," he added.

SAIL and POSCO are in talks for setting up a steel unit likely in Bokaro, Jharkhand, where the PSU operates a 4.5-million tonnes per annum (MTPA) plant and is expanding its capacity to 7.5 MTPA, part of the domestic firm's Rs70,000 crore programme. "Both the firms are keen on the venture. Bokaro can be an ideal location for the plant, which is likely to be built using Posco's Finex technology," Chaturvedi said.

The Finex technology uses iron ore fines and low quality coal to produce high-grade steel, which could be further processed by SAIL to make specialised steel. The steel secretary further said the deal may also see Posco providing other technology to SAIL for making high- grade steel, which could be used in making turbine. Currently such products are imported in India.

Posco and SAIL are already in pact for supply of technology and technical know-how. Last month, a Posco team, led by its chief executive officer Chung Jun-Yang, met top brass of SAIL and the steel ministry and had gone for a reconnoitre in Bokaro.

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SAIL-POSCO deal for Jharkhand plant likely by May-end