Delhi: Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), Indiaâ€™s largest manufacturer of steel, and National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), the countryâ€™s single-largest iron ore producer, today signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop the limestone mine at Arki in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh.
The MoU for the 50:50 joint venture was signed in the presence of Virbhadra Singh – union steel minister, A. Sai Prathap – MOS for steel, by Atul Chaturvedi – steel secretary, SK Roongta -SAIL chairman and Rana Som â€“ CMD of NMDC, an government spokesman stated.
The Arki mine has deposits of about 100 million tonnes (MT) of quality limestone. The SAIL-NMDC joint venture will develop the mine to produce 3 MT of limestone per annum (I MT lumps and 2 MT fines).
While the low-silica limestone lumps will be used by SAIL and NMDC as flux for steel making, the fines would be sold in the market. The cement industry has a huge demand for limestone fines.
SAIL presently does not have any captive source of low-silica limestone and meets its entire requirement of this vital input from the market. With proposed expansion of SAILâ€™s production capacity in the next few years, its requirement of low-silica limestone is slated to go up to 3 MT.
Development of the Arki limestone mine will be another significant step in SAILâ€™s long-term security of vital raw materials. On its part, NMDC will gain an assured buyer for its product. The JV will also enhance the opportunity to catalyse growth of local industry and peripheral development.