| NEW DELHI, April 24
NEW DELHI, April 24 India's JSW Steel Ltd
plans to bid for iron ore mining blocks in Karnataka
state that could go up for auction after a Supreme Court order
last week, as the country's third-largest steel producer looks
to cut its dependence on costly imports.
JSW and rivals such as Essar Steel have been
forced to import iron ore due to a ban on mining in two states
of India, once the world's third-largest iron ore exporter that
is expected to be a net importer this year.
"We will surely bid," Seshagiri Rao, joint managing director
of JSW Steel, told Reuters. "How many we will bid for depends on
the details of the auction process."
He said the company might have to keep importing iron ore,
the main raw material for making steel, until domestic
production ramps up.
India's top court last week canceled the leases of 49 iron
ore mines in the southern state because they were mining
illegally. It said they may be assigned to the highest bidder
JSW already has an iron ore joint venture in Karnataka with
a production capacity of 2.5 million tonnes per year. The
company has the capacity to produce more than 14 million tonnes
of steel products per year, mainly for the domestic market.
(Editing by Sunil Nair)