Indian state owned SAIL and Kobe Steel of Japan have agreed to establish a joint venture company to carry out a detailed feasibility study to build an ITmk3 ironmaking plant in India.

Provisionally called Sail-Kobe Iron India Private Ltd, it plans to invest Rs15000M (US$284M) in a 500kt/y ironmaking plant to be built at SAIL’s Alloy Steels Plant in Durgapur in West Bengal.

The project would use iron ore from SAIL’s mines in Jharkhand. Non-coking coal, sourced within India, is the intended reductant.

ITMk3 uses a rotary hearth operating as a sufficiently high temperature to melt the iron formed to produce nuggets of high carbon iron. The first commercial plant started operations at Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, USA as a jv between Kobe Steel and Steel Dynamics Inc in January 2010 but so far has struggled to reach half its design capacity.

After the detailed feasibility study is completed for Durgapur, with the environmental permits having been obtained, plant construction would commence in 2013 at the earliest and the plant would go into operation around 2015.