Himachal Pradesh is aiming to produce 14Mt of cement every year soon in light of the fact that the area contains some of the best limestone mines in India.
"At present, three cement plants produce 4.2Mt of cement every year, but with the setting up five new plants the production in the next few years could touch 14Mta," said Kuldeep Kumar, state industries minister.
He said the hill state ranked sixth in limestone reserves of the country. Kumar said Himachal was the only state in the country to have rock salt mines and was considering developing these as tourist sites as in Europe.
"The good-quality slate roof mines in the state was attracting international buyers," he said.
"The Himachal government was seriously considering de-reserving the entire mineral-rich Sirmaur district for economic and scientific exploration. It is currently protected and reserved under the Mineral Concessions Rule of 1960," the industries minister said. The state government has in the past few months allotted four cement plants to global cement giants like Lafarge, the Birlas, Jaypee and India Cements.