Sesa Goa ore project to start operation by year-end: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

NEW DELHI: Liberia today said Vedanta Group firm Sesa GoaBSE -1.54 % is likely to commence operations in its iron ore mining project by the year-end, while ArcelorMittal is set to take its ore capacity in that country to 15 million tonnes by 2015. 

"Sesa Goa, which is an Indian corporate entity, is supposed to start operations by end of this year," Liberia's visiting nobel peace prize winning president, 
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said at an event, organised jointly byFicci, CII and Assocham. 

Sesa Goa, which is gearing up to complete its first phase of iron ore mining in the West African nation, is looking at investing up to USD 400 million on the project in 2-3 years and has plans to spend about USD 100 million this year. 

It has already spent USD 35 million in the project so far and now investment will be made on completing the first phase production target of 2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) and partly on works related to phase-II of equal capacity. 

Sesa Goa had acquired Liberia's Western Clusters project for about USD 123.5 million and has divided the project into several phases. It also has plans to ramp up production up to 30 MTPA by 2016-17. 

Talking about the world's largest steel maker's project, the Liberian President said, "Two years ago ArcelorMittal, whose major shareholder comes from your country, made the first iron ore export in 20 years under first phase programme that has increased annual exports to 5 MT." 

She said "In phase two, it will increase exports to 15 MT annually." 

ArcelorMittal board had earlier this year approved plans for the second phase of its mining operations in Liberia that will augment iron ore capacity to 15 million tonnes by 2015. 

The company had invested over USD 1 billion in development of its operations in the African nation so far. 

Sirleaf, who is is heading a business delegation to India, also expressed happiness over
Jindal group evincing interest in setting up a thermal plant in Liberia. 

"We are also pleased that negotiations are advancing well with Jindal group of companies who will be installing a major plant in our country to increase the source of power for industry," she said. 

Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) will set up a 175 MW thermal plant in power-deficit Liberia with USD 250 million investment in the first phase. 

JSPL Chairman 
Naveen Jindal had signed the initial pact for setting up two units of 175 MW capacity each in the presence of the Liberian President yesterday.