Metals & Mining Newsletter - October 27 to 31, 2014

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai | October 31, 2014 17:40 IST

Jindal Shadeed, Bank Muscat sign $725mn term loan facility
Shadeed Iron & Steel LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) and Bank Muscat signed the successful financial closure of USD 725 million syndicated term loan facility. The facility was oversubscribed with commitments in excess of USD 855 million received as against the required commitments of USD 725 million. The commemorative ceremony was part of a high-level business delegation led by His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister for of Commerce and Industry, Oman, along with representatives from various Public and Private Companies of Oman, which is currently in India as part of the B2B Oman-India Roadshow... Read more
 
India's gold reserves stand at $20.13bn in latest week
India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $945.6 million to $313.682 billion in the week ended October 17, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said. The forex reserves had gone up by $1.31 billion to $312.737 billion in the previous week. In its weekly statistical supplement issued by RBI, the central bank said that foreign currency assets went up by $914.1 million to $2,867.8 billion during the week... Read more
 
Japanese delegation meets SAIL's operations team
A delegation from JISF (Japanese Iron & Steel Federation) met Chairman, SAIL, CS Verma at SAIL Corporate Office on 29th October, 2014. Mr Verma is also the President of Indian Steel Association (ISA), the apex body of the Indian Steel Industry. JISF formed in 1948, is the apex federation of the Japanese Iron & Steel industry and is a key organisation for the development of iron & steel industry in Japan. All the leading steel companies of Japan are represented in JISF.
 
Mr C S Verma apprised JISF about the Indian steel industry and its plan to increase steelmaking capacity to 300 Mtpa by 2025 envisaging total capital outlay of USD 200 billion spread over next 12 years. India, which is the 4th largest steelmaking country in the world, has the requisite enablers to soon become the 2nd largest steel producing country. The recent visit of the Prime Minister of India to Japan has paved the way for increased collaboration between the steel industries of the two countries.
 
The Delegation then had an extensive interaction with the cross functional SAIL team. The team briefed the Delegation about the direction of the Indian economy and the Indian steel industries' potential for growth. The delegation was also given a brief overview of SAIL and its future plans. The possible areas of collaboration with the Japanese Steel industry were also discussed in detail and which included areas like technology, products, CO2 reduction in steel making, improving coal blends, benchmarking studies etc.
 
SC judgment heightens raw material security for power, steel cos
Coal mines in India were nationalized following a legislation of Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act (CMN), 1973, which led to the control and transfer of mining rights of all operational mines to the central government, with exception of few coal mines of Tata Steel, SAIL and DVC, CARE Ratings said.
In the report, "Supreme Court verdict on coal block de-allocation- Judgment heightens raw material security for power and steel players", CARE said, with increase in demand for coal, the GoI subsequently (during 1976-2007) opened up domestic coal sector through amendments in CMN Act by following means:
 
Captive dispensation: for specified use of both Government and private IPPs
Government dispensation: No end-use specified, however made to only central and state PSUs
Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP): blocks allotted to UMPP power IPPs based on recommendations of Ministry of Power.
 
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court (SC) has observed that the screening committee guidelines for captive dispensation did not have any objective criterion for allocating coal blocks and lacked transparency, healthy competition and equitable treatment. The SC ruled that as per CMN Act, the coal blocks allocated through government dispensation route to state PSUs are also illegal and also stated that any JV mechanism under this Act is also not allowed. Finally, the court remarked that diversion of coal from captive coal blocks allotted to UMPPs is prohibited and is not available to only specified end-user projects. In its judgment, the Hon'ble SC has de-allocated and termed 214 out of the 218 coal blocks allocated as 'illegal'.
 
The Coal Ministry had allocated 218 coal blocks till date with total geological reserves of 50.5 billion tonnes since 1993, of which 132 blocks were allocated through captive dispensation route, 72 blocks through government dispensation, 12 blocks to UMPPs and two blocks for coal to liquid conversion, based on recommendation of Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG). Additionally, of total geological reserves of 50.5 billion tonnes, 80% were allocated during 2006-10.
 
JSW Steel to increase capacity
JSW Steel plans to raise the production of its steel capacity at its Bellary plant by 60% to 16 million tonnes per year at an estimated investment Rs. 300 billion, according to a media report. Earlier this month, the company had sent a proposal to the Steel Ministry to raise its production capacity from 10 MTPA to 16 MTPA. The steel ministry has forwarded the proposal to the Ministry of Environment and Forest for which the decision is pending, the report further said. JSW Steel aims to achieve a portfolio of 40MTPA by 2025, which in turn would help the company maintain its market share of around 14%, the report added.
 
Coal scam: JSPL clarifies on a news item
With reference to news item published in "Business Standard" dated October 20, 2014 captioned "Coal Scam: CBI files fresh case against Jindal Steel", Jindal Steel & Power Ltd has further clarified as under:
 
"We wish to inform you that, CBI has, based on the preliminary enquiry initiated by it on directions from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), registered an FIR in connection with the allotment of Coal block in Chhattisgarh to the Company.
 
JSPL further reiterates that all its actions are in keeping with the legal framework of the country & that it complies with the law in letter & in spirit. JSPL continues to co-operate with all the authorities in a responsive manner."
 
Protect workers interest: UK union says to Tata Steel
UK trade union GMB has asked Tata Steel to protect the interest of workers in case it sells its European assets and to refrain from any move that has impact on their pension. GMB officers and shop stewards from Tata Steel attended a meeting of representatives from all unions in London on 23rd October to discuss sale of long products business.
 
Tata Steel's Long Products Europe business is made up of the following facilities: Scunthorpe integrated steelworks; Teesside Beam Mill, Lackenby; Special Profiles, Skinningrove & Darlington; Dalzell Plate Mill, and Clydebridge, Scotland; Immingham Bulk Terminal (port terminal), Hayange Rail Mill, north east France; Engineering workshop, Workington and Rail consultancy, York. There are 20 associated distribution sites which are part of the potential sale.
 
Union representatives from all Tata Steel sites were clear that they are not convinced that selling long products is the best way forward in the interests of the members they represent. The unions have engaged the Syndex consultancy as expert advisers to provide in-depth economic and industrial research on the alternatives and to test the rationale for the sale. We want Tata Steel to co-operate fully with that process, GMB said in a statement on Friday.
 
We understand that this process could take weeks or months and that there will be continuing uncertainty for our members, which is why we were so disappointed that Tata Steel failed to consult the unions prior to making their announcement last week. However, we have a duty to examine all the options in the interests of UK steel making, it added. During the meeting, union representatives also raised concerns about the implications for their pensions, should a sale proceed. Consequently, the unions have reaffirmed their position, first established in 2009, to ballot their members for industrial action, should Tata Steel make any moves against the British Steel Pension Scheme. Tata Steel has invested ?1.2 billion in its UK operations since acquiring Corus in 2007.
 
ICVL to invest funds in Mozambique
International Coal Ventures (ICVL) will invest $500 million to create logistic and other infrastructure support in the next two-three years in coal mines in Mozambique, according to a media report. ICVL is also looking to appoint a senior executive with experience in coal mining to head the operation of the Mozambique mines, the report added. The immediate goal of ICVL is to increase the production to 12 million tonnes per annum. The mines need creation of about 500 km railway lines and ports, the report further said. IVCL, a joint venture company of SAIL, CIL, RINL, NMDC and NTPC was created to secure metallurgical coal and thermal coal assets in overseas territories.