| BHUBANESWAR, India, Sept 29
BHUBANESWAR, India, Sept 29 Tata Steel Ltd
is making good progress on acquiring the land it needs
to double the capacity of its newest steel plant in eastern
India to meet growing demand in the country, a company executive
Tata Steel, which has the capacity to make 27 million tonnes
of steel in Asia and Europe, wants to add more in its home base
in India where demand for the alloy is expected to grow faster
than elsewhere in the world.
Tata's managing director for India and Southeast Asia, T.V.
Narendran, said the board would review a proposal for the
expansion of its Kalinganagar steel plant within six months.
The World Steel Association expects India's steel demand to
rise 5.4 percent this year compared with a global 0.8 percent
fall while the Indian government wants to triple the country's
steelmaking capacity to 300 million tonnes a year by 2025.
But land acquisition is a major challenge for industries in
India, and opposition from local residents has in the past
derailed mega projects planned by global steelmakers Posco
Tata Steel needs to add 1,000 acres to the 2,000 acres
already in use at Kalinganagar to double the plant's capacity to
6 million tonnes of steel a year, Narendran told reporters late
"We do need the balance land ... that is also the factor
that needs to be kept into consideration before we finalise
phase two," he said. "In the next few months that will be sorted
out," he said of the land acquisition, without elaborating.
The Kalinganagar plant is Tata Steel's second plant in India
after its main steel mill in Jamshedpur, which has a capacity of
10 million tonnes a year.
The company first announced plans to build a plant at
Kalinganagar in 2004 but it only started commercial production
in May after construction was delayed by a series of issues,
including land acquisition.
The plant will produce about 1.5 million tonnes of steel in
the year to March 2017, Narendran said.
(Reporting by Jatindra Dash; writing by Promit Mukherjee;
editing by David Clarke)