Our Bureau

New Delhi, July 23

GLOBAL steel major L.N. Mittal Group is expected to soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Jharkhand Government for setting up a 10-million tonne steel plant in that State.

"Negotiations are on with the Jharkhand Government. We hope to sign a MoU in a couple of weeks," Mr Lakshmi N. Mittal, Chairman and CEO of the Mittal Group, told presspersons after meeting the Union Minister for Steel, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, here on Saturday.

The UK-based steel baron said allowing foreign investment in steel, mining and other sectors reflected a positive change in the Government's attitude.

Mr Paswan gave an assurance to Mr Mittal on iron ore availability, and said that the Ministry would address this issue in the National Steel Policy that is being prepared.

``We have set a target of 120 million tonne of steel production by 2020. The Government alone cannot meet this. The private sector has to be roped in for this purpose, and the Ministry would definitely try to make things easier for producers," Mr Paswan said.

Informed sources said that preliminary discussion between the Mittal Group and the Jharkhand Government has already taken place,

"There has been an assurance that iron ore would be given and also an understanding that some portion of Chiriya mines would be given for the project to ensure iron ore supplies.

However, no decision has yet been taken so far on the location and size of investment," sources said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 24, 2005)
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