Korean Steelmaker Begins $12 Billion Plant In India

South Korean steelmaking company POSCO said June 6 it will create 7,000 direct jobs in India by 2010 as it begins setting up its mammoth $12 billion plant in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. "POSCO has projected direct employment of over 7,000 by 2010 ... and 97% of total employee strength will comprise of Indians," said a company statement.

The iron and steel project is the largest overseas investment by a South Korean company and India's biggest foreign direct investment, dwarfing the $2.9 billion spent by Enron on a power plant in western Maharashtra state.

The plant, to be built between 2007 and 2010 in the port city of Paradip, will initially produce three million tons of steel a year with the capacity to expand to 12 million tons by 2020.

India has the sixth largest iron ore deposits in the world and the Orissa government has given POSCO mining rights for 30 years. Nearly half of the steel produced would be exported, while the rest would be sold domestically, Orissa's steel and mines minister said when the deal was signed in June 2005.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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