Still awaiting clearances to begin work on its much-hyped $12 billion project in Orissa, South Korean steel major Posco has completed construction of its first steel mill in India at a cost of $240 million.
"Posco has completed construction of its first steel plant in India -- a 0.45 million tonne per annum continuous galvanised line (CVL) facility at Maharashtra," a company official, who did not wish to be quoted, told PTI.
"The facility was inaugurated by Posco-India chairman and managing director Yong-Won Yoon yesterday and a brief test run was done. It will be fully operationalised as soon as a minor clearance, which is pending, is given by the state government," the official added.
The project entailed a total investment of $240 million (Rs 1,339.35 crore), the official said adding the hot galvanised plate facility would cater to the high-end galvanised coil needs of automakers in and around Pune besides those of home appliances.
The world's fourth largest steelmaker is set to start production any day and supply products to automakers in Pune.
Maharashtra is home to a host of automobile plants including that of Volkswagen, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, General Motor, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Skoda, Premier Auto and Bajaj Auto.
Posco has also plans to set up an electric steel plate facility and a cold-rolled mill in Maharashtra.
About much-hyped $12 billion (Rs 52,000 crore) plant at Jagatsingpur in Orissa, the official said work would begin on the project soon after the state government hands over the required land.
In a setback to Posco's Orissa project, the country's single largest FDI, the National Green Tribunal on March 30 had suspended the green clearance granted on January 31, 2011 to the much-awaited project. The tribual directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to review afresh the clearance.
The Tribunal pointed out that memorandum of understanding between the Orissa government and Posco states that the project is for steel production of 12 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) but the environment impact assessment (EIA) report has been prepared only for 4 MTPA in the first phase.
The Tribunal decision came close on the heels of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assuring South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul earlier this year that the project will be implemented and there was progress on it.
The steel plant, proposed at Jagatsinghpur district in Orissa, is hanging fire for over six years now due to land acquisition hurdles. It requires 4,004 acres of land for it.