ArcelorMittal, the world's top steelmaker, will invest $20 billion over the next 10 years to build two steel plants in India and is in talks for iron ore mines, a senior official said on Thursday.

The plants will each have a capacity to produce 12 million tonnes of steel, and will be located in the eastern states of Jharkhand and Orissa.

We have identified the sites and are in the process of acquiring the land, Sudhir Maheshwari, executive director for finance, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

He said the company was negotiating with local governments for mining rights as each of the plants, work on which would start by end-2008, would require 600 million tonnes of iron ore annually.

The biggest problem is iron ore sourcing for these projects... I can't say (the talks) are fairly advanced, he said.

India has iron ore reserves of 25 billion tonnes, and has a target to produce 200 million tonnes of steel by 2020.

Maheshwari said India had allotted some coal blocks for the plants, and expected to get more blocks in the coming months. He declined to give the number of blocks or their reserves.

He also said a joint venture between Mittal Investments Sarl and India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp was looking for opportunities in exploration and production of oil in Iraq.

Yes, we are interested, he said, but declined to say whether ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd would seek to register with the Iraqi government.


ArcelorMittal on Thursday agreed to form an equal joint venture with Germany's Auerhammer Metallwerk and India's Shivalik Bimetal Controls Ltd to build a 10,000 tonne metal plant in India to make products used in automobile parts, heat exchangers and bearings.

The three partners will together initially invest 500 million rupees ($12.7 million) in the venture that will be located in a special economic zone in the central Indian city of Indore, Shivalik Chairman S.S. Sandhu said.

The factory is expected to start operations by April 2009, and the output will mainly feed exports markets, officials said. ($1 = 39.5 rupees) (Reporting by C. Jacob Kuncheria and Rakesh Sharma; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)