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The Steel Ministry presses for NMDC Integrated Steel Plant to be operational by March 31

The Ministry of Steel is pressing for the completion and commissioning of NMDC's Integrated Steel Plant in Nagarnar (NISP) with an annual capacity of 3 million tons by March 31. The plant was scheduled to be completed and commissioned in September 2022, but was postponed for various reasons.

The Steel Ministry presses for NMDC Integrated Steel Plant to be operational by March 31

The steel plant is on the Centre's divestment radar as it will divest its 50.79 per cent stake, and bidders who have entered the list include Adani Group, JSW, JSPL, AMNS India and Essar Group. The strategic transfer of management and control will be made after the "two-stage competitive tender process".

In an internal note, the Ministry has maintained various timelines to be followed while keeping the completion deadline at March 31.

For example, it is expected that the coke oven battery will be ready by February 18, the blast furnace operation will be carried out on March 15, and the first casting will be carried out by March 31.

According to an NMDC official, since it is an integrated steel plant from scratch, several main units need to be commissioned sequentially so that their interdependence can be established smoothly. The process will culminate in the commissioning of the Hot Strip Mill and Thin Slab Caster in the coming months.

10% stake pick-up

Nagarnar steel mill, located in Chattisgarh's Bastar district, has recently split from NMDC, the country's largest iron ore trader, and was listed on the stock exchanges in February.

An Inter-Ministerial Group has asked NMDC Ltd to acquire 10 percent of the Nargarnar steelworks and keep the PSU iron ore miner as support due to the “reputation” it has in the Bastar region.

The iron ore miner will be offered 10% of the stake in the steel plant at the same price as in the competitive tender.

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