Tata Steel is weighing up a move into merchant mining to harness its expertise in iron-ore and coal mining.
Responding to questions from shareholders at the annual meeting of one of Tata Steel’s subsidiaries in Calcutta, Executive Director & CFO Koushik Chatterjee, said: “It’s important for us to look at mining as an area. This is what we are evaluating just now to see how we can get into mining as a business and focusing on India.”
He added that Tata Steel would float a separate company to carry out any planned merchant mining activity in India. No mention was made of any similar activity overseas. The planned segue into commercial mining makes up a key part of the company’s efforts to streamline its operations across four verticals: steel production, downstream value additions, utilities and mining infrastructure.
Chatterjee added that there would be a “big focus” in downstream in one year and that Tata Steel was evaluating several iron-ore mines in Odisha that were due to be put up for auction with current leases due to expire in spring 2020.
Tata Steel has production capacity in the region of 33 million tonnes and is India’s second largest iron-ore miner after the State-run NMDC. It has previously revealed production totals from its captive mines for 2018/19 were 23.3-million tons of iron-ore and 6.54-million tons of coal. The steel giant is almost self-reliant in iron ore providing raw material security. Elsewhere, its coal production delivers 27% of the amount needed for its steel mill blast furnaces.
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