National Mineral Development Corp eyes West Bengal coal block

November 18th, 2008 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 18 (IANS) Public sector company National Mineral Development Corp (NMDC), will invest Rs.10 billion to explore, develop and mine coal blocks in West Bengal, a top company official said here Tuesday.”We already have two coal blocks in Madhya Pradesh, and this is the third one,” NMDC chairman and managing director Rana Som told reporters.

NMDC and the West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corp will form a joint venture to explore and develop the Deocha-Pachami coal block in Birbhum district, Som said.

The initial investment will be for land acquisition and equipment purchase, he added. The state government will acquire land for the project.

The Geological Survey of India regionally explored the block, which is estimated to have reserves of two billion tonnes of thermal coal over an area of 9.7 square kilometres.

Asked about the demand of iron ore at present, Som said it is sluggish both in the national and international markets.

Steel companies - domestic and international - have of late been delaying in picking up their committed long-term iron ore shipments.

An optimistic Som said iron ore production will be in the tune of 31-32 million tonnes in the current fiscal up from 30.6 million tonne last fiscal.

NMDC is the largest mining company in the non-coal sector in India, and is involved in the exploration of a wide range of minerals such as iron ore, copper, rock phosphate, limestone, dolomite, gypsum, bentonite, magnesite, diamond, tin, tungsten, graphite and beach sands.

Now, NMDC is also planning to produce fertilisers, Som said, adding that the world would face a severe crisis in energy and fertilisers for higher production of food grains in the near future.

In this connection, he said his company would form joint ventures in Syria, Jordan and Tunisia to mine rock phosphate needed to manufacture fertilisers.

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