The Steel Authority of India (SAIL) is in talks with Cement Corporation of India (CCI) to set up a 1Mta cement plant near its Bokaro steel plant. The cement plant will be a 50:50 joint venture between the two PSUs. "Joint teams of SAIL and CCI officials will meet shortly to take a final view on the project," UP Singh, MD of SAIL’s Bokaro steel plant.Explaining the rationale behind the construction of a cement plant, Mr Singh that the Bokaro plant produced enough slag, a important raw material for cement, while the steel plant had enough residual power and other infrastructure to support a 1m tonne cement plant.
Under the proposed plan, CCI will relocate its idle plant at Satna to Bokaro, where cheap power and raw materials such as coal, lime stone and slag are available.The cement plant is also expected to solve the problem of slag disposal from the steel plant. Mr Singh said that a cement plant at Bokaro will be profitable as there is enough demand for cement in the eastern region. He added that the cost of production from such a plant would also be low, as raw materials and other inputs are cheap and easily available.
CCI, which was referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) after huge losses, has a total installed capacity of 3.8Mt spread across ten locations. However, just three of the facilities - Tandur (Andhra Pradesh), Rajban (HP) and Bokajan (Assam) - are currently operational. The earlier government had tried to disinvest CCI but failed due to poor response from the bidders. The unviable size of manufacturing units, recurring labour problems and locational disadvantages were responsible for the lack of interest.