Vedanta to Also Make Iron Pipes Soon

Chair­man Anil Agar­wal says group will in­vest ₹ 2,500 cr in the Jhark­hand project

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Rakhi.Mazum­dar @times­group.com

Kolkata: In­dia’s big­gest base-met­als con­glom­er­ate, the Lon­don-listed Vedanta Re­sources, is seek­ing to ex­tend its baili­wick into duc­tile-iron pipes, pledg­ing about $400 mil­lion as ini­tial in­vest­ment in a state the group’s bil­lion­aire founder called his home.

Vedanta Group will in­vest ₹ 2,500 crore in a min­ing-cum-iron project in the min­eral-rich prov­ince of Jhark­hand, a re­gion that was part of the same state in which chair­man Anil Agar­wal was born six decades ago.

“I be­long to the re­gion. The chief min­is­ter had called me. For me, it is like go­ing back to my roots,” Patna-born Agar­wal told ET, in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view ahead of ‘Mo­men­tum Jhark­hand’, a sum­mit meet­ing called by the state ad­min­is­tra­tion to se­cure in­vest­ment com­mit­ments.

Vedanta’s de­ci­sion is un­der­pinned by In­dia’s fo­cus on strength­en­ing its in­fra­struc­ture that is strug­gling to match the coun­try’s ris­ing pro­file as the world’s fastest-ex­pand­ing ma­jor econ­omy. “Every large econ­omy has grown on two ba­sic pillars — nat­u­ral re­sources and in­fra­struc­ture. Every year, In­dia ends up im­port­ing some $400 bil­lion worth of re­sources. We are en­dowed with these re­sources and yet we see a drain of pre­cious funds on im­port­ing them,” said Agar­wal.

In­dia has ex­plored only 10% of its re­serves, com­pared with ad­vanced economies that have done as much as nine times. “It is im­por­tant that we utilise our re­sources and create large scale em­ploy­ment to erad­i­cate poverty. Jhark­hand, in par­tic­u­lar, has the po­ten­tial to be­come another Aus­tralia in terms of re­sources base,” he added.

Of the to­tal in­vest­ment, around 2,000 crore will be spent for set­ting up a1mil­lion tonne per an­num pig iron and duc­tile iron pipe plant, while ₹ 500 crore will go into devel­op­ment of iron ore mines at Dho­bil. The iron unit is ex­pected to come up near Manoharpur.

Agar­wal also wants to in­vest in the state’s power sec­tor. Ster­lite Power, led by its CEO Pratik Agar­wal — Anil Agar­wal’s nephew — is due to sign an MoU (mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing) within the next two days to set up power dis­tri­bu­tion lines worth .₹ 10,000 crore.

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