Faced with acute shortage of iron ore, JSW Steel Ltd (JSW) has approached six small mining companies in Goa to procure enough to feed its existing steel plant and the proposed pig iron project in the state.

The company’s plant at Vijaynagar (Bellary) in Karnataka is set to expand to 10Mt/y. The capacity would be further expanded to 12Mt/y.

In the last quarter of the financial year 2010-11, the company had already started operation of its sinter plant — two blocks of the four blocks of coke oven, converter, caster and captive power plant (300MW) as part of an expansion plan.

The company requires 20Mt of iron ore to operate to its full capacity. Of this, 5Mt is supplied through JSW’s captive mines in the state.

Industry sources believe that JSW has signed a long-term contract with public sector NMDC Ltd to meet another 20-25% of the total iron ore requirement.

For the remaining 10Mt, the company is dependent on the open market.

There is a huge scarcity of iron ore in Karnataka as the state is passing through a transition phase now.

JSW does not want its operation to be hit because of the shortage of iron ore and is ready to transport even by road from Goa despite the huge transportation cost.