Mittal urges Orissa, Jharkhand govts to expedite approvals

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New Delhi, Sep 10 (UNI) ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, today urged Orissa and Jharkhand governments to expedite approval process for the projects in the states as the company is facing 50 per cent cost overruns due to delay in mine allocations and other regulatory sanctions.

''Delay in mine allocations and other approvals have led to delay, causing the company to spend 50 per cent more on the projects,'' company Chairman and CEO L N Mittal said while interacting with the mediapersons here.

ArcelorMittal had said it would pump in 20 billion dollars over the next 10 years to build two steel plants in Jharkhand and Orissa for producing about 25 million tonnes of steel in total.

Due to the delays in approvals, the total cost of the project may rise up to 30 billion dollars, he said.

''When we started, we estimated they will cost about 20 billion dollars.But, due to delays, costs are going up. The more the delay, the higher the cost overruns,'' he said.

The steel baron said the company is ready to start the projects as soon as it gets all the necessary approvals.

''So far we are getting support from both the governments.

The issue is how fast we can execute and implement, and how fast the governments can execute their portion of responsibilities,'' he said.

''We are in talks with various state governments on mine leasing,'' India-born Mittal said.

The firm is looking for more greenfield opportunities as there is a huge growth prospects in the country, he said, adding that the steel demand will continue to grow three to five per cent over the next 10 years.

The steel tycoon said the company is mulling over to scale up its capacity in South Africa, Brazil and Mexico as part of its expansion plans. However, the company does not plan to foray into the power sector as of now.

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