Vedanta to Also Make Iron Pipes Soon
Chairman Anil Agarwal says group will invest ₹ 2,500 cr in the Jharkhand project
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.