Jindal close to entering Brazil`s iron ore market

India’s Jindal Steel & Power is likely to announce at least one iron ore project in Brazil within the next few months, as part of its plans to expand into the Latin American mining industry, a senior executive told Metal Bulletin.

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The New Delhi-based group will open an office in Brazil at the end of the year to serve as a base for the establishment of further projects.

These will not only be in Brazil but in Peru, Chile and Colombia, Amit Kumar, technical assistant to Jindal`s chairman and md Naveen Jindal, said on the sidelines of the 23rd Brazilian Steel Congress.

“In Brazil, Chile and Peru, we`re looking for iron ore, while in Colombia we`re more interested in coking coal,” Kumar said.

Jindal has started to intensify its search for mining projects across Latin America because of disagreements with the government of Bolivia which may soon lead to the Indian company withdrawing from the country.

The steelmaker complains that the Bolivian government has not fulfilled its commitments to secure natural gas supplies and provide substantial land to the El Mutún iron ore and steel project.

This would comprise a 10 million-tpy pellet plant, a 6 million-tpy DRI unit and steelmaking operations to produce 1.7 million tpy of products.

“The deadline for the government to resolve these issues is July 8,” Kumar said. “So far, we haven’t reached agreement.”

If no agreement is achieved, Jindal will terminate a contract signed in 2007 to invest $2.1 billion in the project.

The 23rd Brazilian Steel Congress was organized by the country’s steel association, IABr, in São Paulo.