Vedanta Resources, the London Stock Exchange-listed mining major headed by Anil Agarwal, is planning to enter the Indian cement market through a joint venture.
The $7-billion metals-to-power group on Friday invited companies to build cement plants in Orissa near its thermal power facilities by using fly ash, a by-product of burning coal and a key ingredient for making cement. Vedanta said it will keep open the option to partner prospective companies in the venture.
Vedanta has asked interested companies to submit plans by the first week of September. The fly ash will come from the coal-based power plants owned by Sterlite Industries, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources.
According to Vedanta’s statement, the power plants will generate about 8MT of fly ash. Industry experts said that a tonne of fly ash produces an equal amount of cement. But the by-product from Sterlite’s plants may also be used to feed brick manufacturing units and other ash utilising units in and around Jharsguda, said executives.
Sterlite had recently floated an energy subsidiary - Sterlite Energy - to build thermal power plants in Orissa’s Jharsguda district, with a combined capacity of 2,400 MW.
The power plants, to be built at an investment of $2 billion, will come up by 2009, Sterlite had announced earlier. Sterlite had earlier this year raised about $2 billion in the US market, to be mainly used for funding the power projects.
When contacted, a senior official in the group said: "We might look at joint ventures to facilitate the (cement) project."
Vedanta’s latest initiative follows trends that has seen companies using by-products of other manufacturing processes to make cement, a commodity that has been in great demand due to hectic construction activity and infrastructure projects. Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel had recently announced plans to use slag from its plants to make cement.
"We can provide required assistance in establishing units in this vibrant and fast-growing state," the Vedanta group said in its statement. "We shall also consider JVs in suitable cases," it added.