State-owned iron ore miner NMDC is engaged in active discussions to acquire coking coal assets in Russia and Mozambique to feed its upcoming steel-making plant in Chhattisgarh.
"NMDC is in active discussions to acquire coking coal assets in Mozambique and Russia. It is scouting for coking coal assets in the US also," the company said in a recent presentation.
NMDC is setting up a three million tonnes per annum steel plant at Nagarnar in Chhattisgarh with Rs 15,525 crore outlay. Coking and iron ore are two basic raw materials for steel.
While being the country's largest iron ore producer, NMDC can ensure uninterrupted supply of the raw material, it will have to partially depend on imported coal to fuel the blast furnace.
Meanwhile, NMDC has taken "all necessary steps" to start production from the Shahpur West coal block in Madhya Pradesh in 2014, coinciding with the commissioning of the steel plant.
Coal Ministry had allotted two blocks - Shahpur East and Shahpur West in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh - to NMDC in 2007 with reserves of 52.7 million tonnes and 63.6 million tonnes respectively.
The mine plan for Shahpur West has already been approved and the detailed project feasibility report is currently under preparation. NMDC has also applied for nine coal blocks for captive use.
Sources said NMDC is also looking for buying iron ore assets in Brazil and Russia. It sealed its maiden overseas buy by acquiring 50 percent stake in Australian firm Legacy Iron Ore last year. The company has also initiated steps to increase its iron ore production capacity to 48 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by 2014-15 from the current installed capacity of 32 MTPA.