State-run miner NMDC Monday said it expects to start production at its Nagarnar steel plant by July 2019.
The country's largest iron ore miner is setting up a three million tonne per annum (MTPA) integrated steel plant at Nagarnar in Bastar, Chhattisgarh.
Currently, progress of civil work, structural and equipment erection of Nagarnar plant is in an advanced stage and progressing in full swing.
"In a day of significant developments, Nagarnar steel plant Monday received the first rake of imported coking coal into the steel plant and also commissioned its wagon tippler at the raw material handling system (RMHS), thereby bringing the plant commissioning to its penultimate step...
"With these two major developments, NMDC looks forward to starting production at Nagarnar steel plant by July next year after deploying the requisite manpower in various operational positions," NMDC said in a statement.
In the statement, NMDC Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Baijendra Kumar said: "Today, a great milestone has been achieved that has put us on the threshold of commissioning the steel plant".
N K Nanda, director (technical), NMDC, dwelt upon the support of Railways since the inception of NMDC that helps the company reach its target.
"One of the positive factors that propelled NMDC to think of setting up a steel plant at Bastar was the assurance from Railways that it would facilitate raw material movement," he said.
4,106 tonnes of coal, received Monday in 59 wagons, is part of the first consignment of 80,000 tonne of the fuel that has been imported from Australia and offloaded at Visakhapatnam Port last week, the company said.
Imported coking coal and indigenous coal is blended and charged into the blast furnace along with iron ore to produce hot metal, it added.
Earlier, the CMD had told PTI that the inter-ministerial group for divestment has decided to put the sale of the Nagarnar steel plant on hold.
According to company sources, the state government, local political parties and trade unions were against the selling of the steel plant to private parties.
The company last year had announced that the process for strategic divestment of NMDC's Nagarnar plant had started.
The steel plant was in the list of public sector enterprises lined up by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) for strategic divestment. The government has fixed a disinvestment target of Rs 80,000 crore for the current fiscal.
Strategic disinvestment denotes the sale of a substantial portion of government shareholding in an identified central public sector enterprise, up to 50 per cent or more, along with the transfer of management control.
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