The world's largest steelmaker Arcelor Mittal Dec. 20 received the go-ahead to invest 400 billion rupees (US$8.7 billion) in a plant in eastern India, officials said. "The High-Level Clearance Authority cleared the 12 million-ton steel plant project and a formal memorandum of understanding will be signed tomorrow," provincial Industries Minister Viswabhushan Harichandan said. The minister said the project will employ 5000 people.
This will be the first Indian operation of the Netherlands-based company, which acquired European steelmaker Arcelor in July in a $32.5 billion deal. Earlier this year, Laxmi Mittal too had said the proposed Orissa plant will be completed in two phases. South Korean steel giant POSCO is also building a $12 billion steel plant in Orissa, which has a quarter of the country's iron ore reserves. India currently produces about 35 million tons of steel.
After the Arcelor deal, Mittal had said he would start expanding in India and China as a result.
Mittal's company also has a joint venture with the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. of India Limited (ONGC). It has operations in Syria and Nigeria.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006