Kolkata, November 30: JSW Ltd aims to upgrade its Vijayanagara plant in Karnataka to 20 million tonnes, the single-site largest steel unit in the world, by 2022. JSW CMD Sajjan Jindal said here on Sunday the brownfield expansion project would depend on imported iron ore fines routed through a 500-km slurry pipeline connecting its Jaigarh Port on the Maharashtra coast and Vijayanagara. The pipeline would have a capacity to carry 25 million tonnes of slurry a year. The pipeline project, which is slated to be on ground in the next couple of years at a cost of over 2,000 crore, would pay back within a year of operation through savings on the railway logistic cost, Jindal claimed. Considering uncertainty over the iron fines availability issue in the domestic market, this marks a shift in its long-term perspective plan for JSW. Currently, JSW, which does not enjoy the benefit of any captive mine in the country, is importing around 50 per cent iron fines. Jindal said that in 2014-15, JSW will import 10 mt of iron fines.
At the heart of the Vijayanagara expansion is the pipeline project, he said. The present production is pegged at 10 mt of hot metal. He also confirmed that JSW is not pursuing acquisition proposal for three special steel re-rolling mills of bankrupt Italian steelmaker Lucchini, located in Tuscany province. It has also dropped the idea of taking over Italian integrated steel firm Ilva.
Jindal said the status of the proposed integrated steel making project at Shalboni in West Midnapore district of West Bengal remains a non-starter. The iron ore issue has not been resolved. JSWs attempt at going ahead with a power project at the site also stumbled on the three West Bengal coalmine linkage related hurdles. The company is was awaiting the Centres move on the coalmines, he said.