NMDC likely to sign an MoU with Vietnam’s Masan

State owned miner look to pick up a minority stake in tungsten mines.

By Author  |  Published: 7th Dec 2017  12:05 amUpdated: 7th Dec 2017  12:59 am

Hyderabad: State-owned miner NMDC will shortly sign an MoU with Vietnam-based Masan Resources for acquiring a minority stake in a tungsten mine. Once the MoU is signed, the company will take up due diligence with support from Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL). Based on this, NMDC will decide on the investment size.

Masan operates a mine that produces about 6,000 tonnes of ammonium para tungsten per annum. Currently, India mainly imports tungsten for its domestic requirements due to higher production cost.

NMDC and Midhani had earlier signed an MoU in October last year to explore suitable tungsten assets in India and abroad for converting tungsten ore into ammonium para tungsten. The domestic requirement of tungsten for defence applications is about 300 tonnes.

NMDC has been engaged in discussions with Masan Resources based in Vietnam. NMDC expects to finalise a deal and an MoU and may even pick up a minority stake in the mines, said N Baijendra Kumar, its Chairman and Managing Director of NMDC.

NMDC will also focus on gold exploration in the tenements they acquired a few years ago in Australia. It is expanding its presence in Panna mines in Madhya Pradesh and is looking to participate in auction of more gold mines in the country, he said adding that NMDC focus areas include strengthening its overseas business, including Legacy Mines in Australia and coking coal business. It now has interests in Australia, Mozambique and Tanzania. These plans will depend on the global markets.

On iron ore production, Kumar said NMDC expected the output to cross 34 million tonnes this fiscal year, almost same as the amount of iron ore produced during 2016-17. In five year upto 2022, it has set a target of 67 million tonne, he said.

NMDC will be investing about Rs 3,500 crore this fiscal year towards capex, up from Rs 3,196 crore during 2016-17. This year’s spend also includes the steel plant that it is setting up in Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh. Its turnover for 2016-17 was Rs 8,829 and had cash reserves of about Rs 5,000 crore.

“There is no need to seek loans from the market immediately. However, will look to tap the available channels as per our need,” the official said.