Thursday, July 31, 2008

DOE to Provide $36 Million to Advance Carbon Dioxide Capture

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that it will provide $36 million for 15 projects aimed at furthering the development of new and cost-effective technologies for the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants.  

"Currently, the existing U.S. coal fleet accounts for over half of all electricity generated in this country," U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. "The projects announced today will combat climate change and help meet current and future energy needs by curbing CO2 emissions from existing coal-fired plants." 

Capture and storage of CO2 is a key component of President Bush’s vision for a cleaner, more secure energy future. Since 2001, the Administration has invested more than $2.5 billion in clean coal research and development. Today’s 15 projects will focus on five areas of interest for CO2 capture: membranes, solvents, sorbents, oxycombustion (flue gas purification and boiler development), and chemical looping. Projects and research areas are detailed below. 


Membrane-based CO2 capture uses permeable or semi-permeable materials that allow for the selective transport and separation of CO2 from flue gas. Research projects in this area will address key technical challenges to the use of membrane-based systems such as large flue gas volume, relatively low CO2 concentration, low flue gas pressure, flue gas contaminants, and the need for high membrane surface area. 

Membrane Technology and Research Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.)—Researchers will prepare commercial-scale membrane modules that meet low pressure-drop and high packing-density performance targets using CO2 capture membranes developed under a previous agreement with NETL. The new research will involve the construction of an approximately one ton of CO2/day membrane skid for use in a 6 month pilot-scale field test with real coal-fired flue gas. (DOE share: $3,437,119; recipient share: $957,630; duration: 24 months)

Research Triangle Institute (Research Triangle Park, N.C.)—Research Triangle Institute (RTI) will research novel fluorinated polymer membranes with a focus on total process design and integration of the membrane-based CO2 separation technology into an existing coal-fired power plant. RTI researchers will focus on novel high-performance membrane materials, improved hollow-fiber membrane module design, and process development for efficient integration of the CO2-capture system into an existing coal-fired power plant. 
(DOE share: $1,944,821; recipient share: $486,205; duration: 24 months)

Solvent-based CO2 capture involves chemical or physical sorption of CO2 from flue gas into a liquid carrier. Solvent-based systems are in commercial use today scrubbing CO2 from industrial flue gases and process gases; however, they have not been applied to removing large volumes of CO2, as would be encountered in the flue gas from a coal-fired utility boiler. Projects in this area will address technical challenges to solvent-based CO2 capture such as large flue gas volume, relatively low CO2 concentration, flue gas contaminants, and high parasitic power demand for solvent recovery. 

Georgia Tech Research Corporation (Atlanta, Ga.)— The objective of this project is to develop a novel class of solvents, called "reversible ionic liquids," to capture CO2 from coal-fired power plant flue gas. Reversible ionic liquids are essentially "smart" molecules that change properties abruptly in response to some stimulus. Investigators will focus on the synthesis, characterization, and testing of novel reversible ionic liquids, and then use structure/property relationships to optimize their physical and thermodynamic properties for CO2 capture. (DOE share: $1,620,479; recipient share: $413,072; duration: 36 months)

GE Global Research (Niskayuna, N.Y.)—In this project, researchers will use both computational and laboratory methods to identify and produce novel oligomeric solvents for post-combustion capture of CO2 from coal-fired power plants. An oligomer is a polymer with relatively few structural units. Molecular and system modeling, advanced synthetic methods, and laboratory testing will be used to identify oligomeric solvents having potential for high CO2 capture capacity under low energy-use conditions. (DOE share: $2,546,303; recipient share: $636,575; duration: 24 months) 

Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Illinois State Geological Survey (Champaign, Ill.)—The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) plans to develop an integrated vacuum carbonate absorption process (IVCAP) for post-combustion CO2 capture. This process employs potassium carbonate as an absolvent and can be uniquely integrated with the power plant steam cycle by using the waste steam or low-quality steam from the power plant. Researchers aim to confirm IVCAP process parameters through laboratory testing, identify an effective catalyst for accelerating CO2 absorption rates, and develop an additive for reducing the stripping heat. (DOE share: $691,191; recipient share: $339,259; duration: 36 months)

Solid particles can be used to capture CO2 from flue gas through chemical absorption, physical adsorption, or a combination of the two. Possible configurations for contacting the flue gas with the solid particles include fixed, moving, and fluidized beds. The projects selected in this area of interest will address key technical challenges to sorbent-based systems such as large flue gas volume, relatively low CO2 concentration, flue gas contaminants, and high parasitic power demand for sorbent recovery. 

ADA-ES, Inc. (Littleton, Colo.)—The objective of this project is to assess the viability and accelerate development and scale-up of sorbent-based CO2 capture. Investigators will evaluate sorbents at laboratory- to bench scale for their performance in a CO2 capture process. Criteria for optimal sorbents will include availability of raw material, ability to manage disposal costs, CO2 working capacity, interaction with flue gas constituents and sufficient hardness to mitigate attrition. Test results will aid in the development of the conceptual design for integration of the sorbent system into a coal-fired power plant.
(DOE share: $2,000,000; recipient share: $500,000; duration: 36 months) 

SRI International (Menlo Park, Calif.)—SRI International will develop a novel, high-capacity carbon sorbent with moderate thermal requirements for regeneration. Specific objectives are to validate the performance of the sorbent concept on a bench-scale system, to perform parametric experiments to determine optimum operating conditions, and to evaluate the technical and economic viability of the technology. (DOE share: $1,799,962; recipient share: $450,000; duration: 36 months)

TDA Research Inc. (Wheat Ridge, Colo.)—In this project, TDA Research Inc. will produce and evaluate its low-cost solid sorbent developed in prior laboratory testing. A bench-scale CO2 capture unit will be designed and constructed using the developed sorbent, and it will be tested on a coal-derived flue gas. Mass and energy balances for a commercial-scale coal-fired power plant retrofit with the CO2 capture system will also be determined. (DOE share: $1,097,839; recipient share: $276,541; duration: 36 months) 

Oxycombustion systems combust a fuel in pure or nearly pure oxygen, producing a flue gas that has high CO2 concentration but may also include water, excess oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and other contaminants. Projects in this research area will develop methods to reduce the levels of these unwanted compounds in the flue gas. 

Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (Allentown, Pa.)—Researchers in this project will demonstrate the feasibility of purifying the CO2 derived from an actual oxycombustion flue gas. Special attention will be paid to acidic impurities within the captured CO2 product such as sulfur oxides, hydrogen chloride and nitrogen oxides. In commercial application, it may be necessary to remove these acidic impurities from the CO2 stream before the purified CO2 is introduced into a pipeline in order to prevent corrosion or problems at the geologic sequestration site. (DOE share: $1,003,995; recipient share: $251,000; duration: 24 months)

Praxair Inc. (Tonawanda, N.Y.)— Praxair will develop a near-zero emissions flue gas purification technology for existing pulverized-coal power plants retrofitted with oxycombustion technology. Goals of this project are to cost-effectively capture more than 95 percent of CO2 emissions from a boiler with high air ingress. Atmospheric emissions of sulfur oxides and mercury will be reduced by at least 99 percent, and emissions of nitrogen oxides will be reduced by greater than 90 percent without the need for wet flue gas desulfurization and selective catalytic reduction. (DOE share: $3,241,989; recipient share: $2,161,326; duration: 36 months) 

The characteristics of oxycombustion have not yet been fully developed. Oxycombustion flame characteristics, burner and coal-feed design, and analyses of the interaction of oxycombustion products with boiler materials are all areas needing further work. The research projects selected in this area of interest will conduct laboratory- and bench-scale research into oxycombustion boiler characteristics and innovative oxy-burner design. 

Alstom Power Inc. (Windsor, Conn).—A test program to develop an oxycombustion system for tangentially fired (T-fired) coal boiler units will be conducted in this project by Alstom. T-fired boilers make up 44 percent of the installed base of utility boilers in the world and 41 percent in the United States. The project aims to develop an innovative oxycombustion system for existing T-fired boiler units that minimizes overall capital investment and operating costs by measuring the performance of these systems in pilot-scale tests at Alstom’s 15 megawatt T-Fired Boiler Simulation Facility and its 15 megawatt Industrial Scale Burner Facility. (DOE share: $5,000,000; recipient share: $2,229,966; duration: 24 months)

Foster Wheeler North America Corp. (Livingston, N.J.) —Foster Wheeler will conduct an in-depth test program to determine how oxycombustion will affect the life of electric utility boiler tube materials. The program will involve computational fluid dynamics modeling to predict the gas compositions that will exist throughout and along the walls of oxycombustion boilers, laboratory testing to determine the effects of oxycombustion conditions on conventional boiler tube materials and coverings, and laboratory testing the determine the effects of oxycombustion on alternative higher-alloy tube materials and coverings. (DOE share: $1,593,437; recipient share: $398,357; duration: 36 months)

Reaction Engineering International (Salt Lake City, Utah)—In this project, investigators will conduct multi-scale experiments, coupled with mechanism development and computational fluid dynamics modeling, to elucidate the impacts of retrofitting existing coal-fired utility boilers for oxycombustion. Test data will be obtained from oxycombustion experiments at 0.1 kilowatt, 100 kilowatt and 1.2 megawatt scale. (DOE share: $2,376,443; recipient share: $617,767; duration: 36 months)

Chemical looping involves the use of a solid oxygen carrier particle in the combustion of fuels. The oxygen carrier particle is oxidized in one reactor and is used to combust the fuel in another reactor. Projects in this area of interest will advance the development of chemical looping systems by addressing key issues such as solids handling and oxygen carrier capacity, reactivity, and attrition. 

Alstom Power Inc. (Windsor, Conn.)—This project will further development of Alstom’s chemical looping technology for CO2 capture and separation. The technology uses a limestone-based oxygen carrier to create power from coal while creating a concentrated CO2 flue gas. Researchers will design, construct, and operate a prototype facility that includes all of the equipment required to operate the chemical looping plant in a fully integrated manner, with all major systems in service. (DOE share: $4,999,614; recipient share: $1,249,900; duration: 24 months)

The Ohio State University Research Foundation (Columbus, Ohio)—Coal direct chemical looping (CDCL) technology will be further developed under this project. CDCL technology can be retrofitted to existing pulverized-coal power plants to efficiently convert coal while capturing CO2 through the assistance of a patented iron oxide–based composite oxygen carrier particle. Development of the CDCL system will be conducted through experimental testing under bench and sub-pilot scales. (DOE share: $2,860,141; recipient share: $1,126,513; duration: 36 months)
Today's announcement is part of DOE's Office of Fossil Energy's Innovations for Existing Plants (IEP) program, which is managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The IEP program maintains a portfolio of research projects to address these and other environmental challenges faced by America's existing fleet of coal-fired power plants. 


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Usha Martin’s consolidated net profit at Rs 65.08 Crores up by 73 %

Kolkata, July 30, 2008: Usha Martin Limited, leading producer of speciality steel and one of the largest wire rope manufacturers globally, has posted improved performance. During the quarter ended 30th June, 2008, the key highlights of the consolidated financials were:
a) Gross sales grew by 36% to Rs.754.20 crores
b) Net Sales grew by 39% to Rs.698.69 crores
c) PBT grew by 82 % to Rs.100.83 crores
d) PAT grew by 73 % to Rs.65.08 Crores
e) Cash Profit grew by 80 % to Rs.104.94 Crores
f) EPS grew by71 % to Rs. 2.57 per share (FV Rs 1/-)
During the 1st quarter of the financial year 2008-09,the consolidated Profit before tax rose to Rs.100.83 crores from Rs.55.28 crores (an increase of 82%)and Profit after tax to Rs. 65.08 crores from Rs. 37.68 crores (an increase of 73 %). The net sales [net of inter segment adjustment] rose to Rs. 698.69 crores from Rs. 503.76 crores, registering a growth of 39 %.
Key Highlights of the quarter under review are:
a) Global Wire Ropes production grew by 10 % compared to corresponding period of previous year.
b) PBDIT margin at 22.9%.
c) Value added product share at 60 % of steel produced.
The capital expenditure plans for speciality steel capacity expansion to one Million Tonne and Wire ropes product capacity enhancements are progressing as per schedule. 
Usha Martin has manufacturing facilities at Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Hoshiarpur, UK, Thailand, UAE and USA. It has created a worldwide distribution, service and marketing network spread across the US, UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and Australia. 

Balmer Lawrie reports steady growth in first quarter

Kolkata – 30th July, 2008 

Balmer Lawrie & Co. Ltd., a Mini Ratna Category – I PSE has posted impressive results for the first quarter of the current fiscal year. The unaudited financial results for the three month period ended 30th June, 2008 which was approved at the Board meeting of the company held today, shows growth in both the turnover as well as profits.  

 The total income for the quarter ended 30th June, 2008 was Rs.433 crore, up by 19% from Rs.363 crore in the same quarter last year. The profit before tax during the quarter was higher by 20% at Rs.36 crore as against Rs.30 crore in the same quarter last year. Similarly the net profit during the quarter also increased by 20% to Rs.24 crore as compared to Rs.20 crore for the corresponding period last year.  

 Announcing the first quarter results, S K Mukherjee, Managing Director said that ‘In the manufacturing business i.e. the Industrial Packaging and the Greases & Lubricants, the margins were under strain in view of higher prices of steel and base oil, the main raw materials. The service businesses, however, continued to grow and the upward trend is being maintained.’

Rio Tinto to invest US$2.15 billion in major expansion of Corumbá iron ore mine in Brazil

Rio Tinto will invest US$2.15 billion in a major expansion of its iron ore mine in Corumbá, Brazil, boosting annual capacity of the mine more than six-fold from 2 million tonnes per annum to 12.8 million tonnes, with new production commencing in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company will also undertake a feasibility study, to be completed by mid-2009, for a Phase II expansion that would take capacity to 23.2 million tonnes per annum. 

The Corumba investment brings to nearly US$11 billion the total capital expenditure that Rio Tinto has committed since 2003 to develop its iron ore business. Rio Tinto outlined a global pathway to grow iron ore production to more than 600Mtpa from 179Mtpa in 2007 late last year *. 

The expansion of Corumbá, which produces high-quality blast-furnace lump and direct reduction products, will capitalise on increasing demand for iron ore in South America and the Middle East, and increase Rio Tinto’s presence in Europe. 

Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said “This is a very significant step forward in our drive to extend iron ore operations beyond the Pilbara region in Western Australia. The development of Corumbá reinforces our capability to expand capacity rapidly to match increased demand wherever it occurs. 

"The move strengthens our position as the only iron ore producer with a truly global production and growth platform, giving us access to a wide range of markets.” 

US$2.11 billion will be used for expansion of the Corumbá mine and its associated logistics chain (100 percent Rio Tinto), including US$121 million in long-lead items. A further US$42 million will fund the Phase II feasibility study. 

Two new ports will be constructed together with improved infrastructure networks to link the 2,500-kilometre, multi-national supply chain. In addition, a new long-term trans-shipping services contract will enable ocean-going vessels to be topped up before shipping to markets.  

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh said, “This is a most significant project – locally and internationally. It is scalable, it combines greenfields and brownfields opportunities, and it allows us to market an upgraded lump product through demonstrated drying technology.” 

During construction, the project will employ close to 2,500 people in Corumbá and La Agraciada in Uruguay, with at least a doubling of permanent workforce across mine, ports and river operations to more than 1,600. It will also contribute to both state and municipal tax revenues.

Rio Tinto will be assisted with project management by Sandwell Canada Inc., a company with substantial ports and water logistics expertise, and experience of delivering projects in South America and by Brazilian contractor, SNC Minerconsult on mine plant aspects. 

“The Rio Tinto Iron Ore project management team is very familiar with this type of work. Much of the US$11 billion for iron ore growth has been spent or committed in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where the team continues to complete projects within time and budget,” said Mr Walsh. 

The expansion will be subject to a number of regulatory approvals.

* Rio Tinto's attributable share of 320 Mtpa and 420 Mtpa of iron ore production at its Pilbara operations is approximately 80 to 85%. Rio Tinto's attributable share of its global iron ore production beyond 600 Mtpa is approximately 85%.

Corumbá operations

Mining at Corumbá is relatively simple, with no blasting required and extremely shallow waste material covering the ore. The existing 2 Mt/a operation will continue unaffected by the new greenfields operation. 

The expanded operation will continue to be multi-jurisdictional: a new northern river port will be established at Albuquerque in Brazil, barging operations will operate through the international zone of the River Paraguay; a new southern river port will be constructed at Agraciada in Uruguay (all 100% Rio Tinto), and trans-shipping operations will be conducted in the international waters of the Rio de La Plata, located 350 kilometres away from Agraciada. The trans-shipping is necessary to enable larger Panamax and Capesize vessels to be loaded

DOE Selects Projects to Conserve Freshwater at Coal-Fired Power Plants Projects to Advance Technologies to Minimize Water Withdrawal, Consumption

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of 10 projects aimed at developing advanced technologies and concepts to minimize freshwater withdrawal and consumption by coal-based power systems. By improving the environmental performance of coal, America's most abundant energy resource, the projects will strengthen national energy security and help provide clean, affordable, abundant energy for future generations.
Thermoelectric power plants are the second largest user of freshwater in the United States, requiring significant volumes to cool and condense the low-pressure steam from the plant’s electricity-generating turbines. Only the agricultural sector, which uses large quantities of water for irrigation, withdraws more freshwater than thermoelectric power plants. 
The operation of existing thermoelectric power plants and the permitting of new plants are challenged by competing demands from other water-use sectors, increasingly stringent water-related environmental requirements, and growing populations in water-constrained regions, which increases the need for electricity.

Further, a recent DOE analysis projects that the consumption of freshwater by thermoelectric power stations will increase over the next 20 years as older plants using "once-through" cooling retire and are replaced by new plants with "closed-loop" cooling systems, which lose water through evaporation.

The DOE analysis also shows that the demand for water by the power sector could further increase if regulations are enacted to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). As much as 30 to 40 percent of a plant's electrical output can be required to operate a carbon-capture system; additional capacity is needed to make up for the lost output, which increases demands for cooling water and water for plant operations. 

The Office of Fossil Energy's Innovations for Existing Plants (IEP) program maintains a portfolio of research projects to address these and other environmental challenges faced by America’s existing fleet of coal-fired power plants. Specific to water, the program has established both near- and long-term technical and cost targets:

The near-term target is to have advanced technologies ready for commercial demonstration by 2015 that, when used alone or in combination, can reduce freshwater withdrawal and consumption by at least 50 percent for thermoelectric power plants equipped with wet recirculating cooling technology, at a levelized cost of less that $3.90 per 1,000 gallons of freshwater conserved. 

The longer-term target is to have technologies ready for commercial demonstration by 2020 that, when used in combination, can reduce freshwater withdrawal and consumption at thermoelectric power plants by at least 70 percent, at a levelized cost of less than $2.60 per 1,000 gallons of freshwater conserved. 

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directs the Energy Department to address issues related to water use for energy production. In addition, Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Bill language directs the IEP program to address the need for advanced energy-water technologies.

The 10 new projects, totaling approximately $9 million from DOE and $3 million in cost sharing from the recipients, will focus on three topic areas: advanced cooling technology, innovative water reuse and recovery, and non-traditional sources of process and cooling water. The selected projects and these areas of interest are described below:

INTEREST AREA: Advanced Cooling Technology

Research in this area is intended to develop technologies that improve performance and reduce costs associated with wet cooling, dry cooling, and hybrid cooling technologies. Selected projects will conduct research into cost-effectively minimizing the amount of water withdrawn and consumed by power-plant cooling systems.

Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pa.)—In this project, researchers will develop a new scale-prevention technology by continuously precipitating and removing dissolved mineral ions in cooling water. Removal of the dissolved mineral ions would allow power plants to increase the number of times that the water could be recycled before it would be discharged, which would effectively reduce the amount of makeup water needed for the plant. It is anticipated that the technology could double the cycles of concentration thereby reducing the plant’s blowdown by approximately 25 percent. (DOE share: $1,004,174; recipient share: $254,000; duration: 36 months) 

SPX Cooling Technologies Inc. (Overland Park, Kan.)—Investigators will improve the efficiency of power-plant air-cooled condensers (ACCs) by developing wind guide technology for these air-cooled systems. Major drawbacks to the application of dry cooling have included efficiency variation, efficiency reduction, and capital and operating costs of the ACC units. SPX Cooling Technologies will work to reduce the efficiency variation in windy conditions by developing physical enhancements to the base ACC. The efficiency improvement for the cooling process will be measured by adding the new technology to an existing ACC cooling process at a selected coal-fired power plant. (DOE share: $751,817; recipient share: $187,954; duration: 28 months) 

SPX Cooling Technologies Inc. (Overland Park, Kan.)—Air2Air® technology has the potential to reduce freshwater withdrawal and consumption by recovering 15 to 25 percent of water from cooling-tower evaporation. In this project, SPX Cooling Technologies will further develop Air2Air® condensing technology, enabling it to become a cost-effective and viable water-savings technology. Researchers will focus on solving issues of economy as they relate to superstructure volume, pack cost, and costly ducting details. A more efficient heat transfer pack with watertight wet path seals will also be developed. (DOE share: $652,066; recipient share: $163,017; duration: 25 months) 

INTEREST AREA: Innovative Water Reuse and Recovery

Considering the great quantity of water withdrawn and consumed by power plants, any recovery or reuse of this water can significantly reduce the plant’s water requirements. Selected projects in this research area will develop advanced technologies to reuse power-plant cooling water and associated waste heat and will investigate methods to recover water from power-plant flue gas. 

Applied Ecological Services Inc. (Brodhead, Wis.)—In this project, researchers will investigate the use of wetlands as a treatment method for power-plant water reuse and as tertiary treatment of wastewater treatment-plant effluent prior to use in a power plant. Specific objectives include conducting a literature review on the use of restored wetlands for water cooling and heat management by various industries, including power producers; conducting conceptual design and technical evaluation and modeling of specific cooling strategies that employ wetlands; and designing a scale model followed by field testing of restored wetland cooling-effectiveness and benefits. (DOE share: $914,472; recipient share: $233,578; duration: 36 months) 

Gas Technology Institute (Des Plaines, Ill.)—Investigators at the Gas Technology Institute will develop and test a membrane-based technology to recover water and energy from power-plant flue gas. The first of two stages will recover high-purity water and energy that can be used to replace plant boiler makeup water as well as improve plant efficiency. The second stage will recover the larger portion of water that can be used for cooling tower makeup. Research will include membrane design and modeling, performance optimization and lab testing, design and fabrication of a pilot-scale unit, pilot-scale testing, and design scale-up. (DOE share: $1,148,141; recipient share: $289,975; duration: 36 months) 

Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.)—Lehigh University researchers will develop condensing heat-exchanger technology for coal-fired power plants for the recovery of water from flue gas. In particular, researchers will expand the database on water and acid condensation characteristics by performing slip-stream tests at two different power plants, develop cost-effective solutions to reducing acid corrosion of heat-exchanger tubes, determine condensed flue-gas water-treatment needs, and develop condensing heat-exchanger designs for full-scale applications. The successful development of cost-effective, corrosion-resistant condensing heat-exchanger systems for use in coal-fired power plants will provide opportunities to recover water from boiler flue gas. (DOE share: $920,484; recipient share: $266,817; duration: 29 months) 

INTEREST AREA: Non-Traditional Sources of Process and Cooling Water

Opportunities exist for the utilization of lower-quality, non-traditional water sources. The projects in this interest area will evaluate and develop cost-effective approaches to using non-traditional sources of water to supplement or replace freshwater for cooling and other power-plant needs.

Arthur Langhus Layne (Tulsa, Okla.)—To reduce high-quality freshwater withdrawal and consumption for power production, project researchers will create an internet-based, GIS catalog of non-traditional sources of cooling water for coal-fired power plants. Data will be developed to allow the economically beneficial use of oil and gas produced water, abandoned coal-mine water, industrial waste water, and low-quality groundwater. By pairing non-traditional water sources to power-plant water needs, the research will allow power plants that are affected by water shortages to continue to operate at full capacity without adversely affecting local communities or the environment. (DOE share: $451,385; recipient share: $177,250; duration: 36 months) 

Board of Trustees of University of Illinois (Champaign, Ill.)—In this project, investigators will evaluate the feasibility of reusing three types of non-traditional water sources for cooling or process water for coal-based power plants in the Illinois Basin: (1) produced water from CO2-enhanced oil recovery, (2) coalbed methane recovery, and (3) active and abandoned underground coal mines. Tasks will include evaluating quantity and quality of the produced water, investigating suitable treatment technologies, and conducting a detailed economic and benefits analysis. The research will provide critical information for the use of these non-traditional water sources for power-plant makeup water, which would allow for increased use of non-traditional waters in the Illinois Basin and nationally. (DOE share: $830,031; recipient share: $353,027; duration: 36 months) 

Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pa.)— Carnegie Mellon University will provide engineering and economic data and analyses to determine optimal treatment approaches for use of wastewater treatment-plant effluent as cooling water. Investigators will evaluate the costs and benefits of implementing tertiary treatment of municipal wastewater prior to use in power plants versus chemical treatment at the power plant to manage cooling-water quality. Research will include studying current use of wastewater treatment-plant effluent for power-plant makeup; conducting laboratory tests, followed by pilot-scale field tests, with wastewater treatment-plant effluent of different qualities; testing a variety of corrosion, scaling, and biofouling control methods; and performing comparative life-cycle cost and benefit analyses. (DOE share: $740,551; recipient share: $246,554; duration: 36 months) 

GE Global Research (Niskayuna, N.Y.)—Researchers at GE Global Research will develop a new silica-removal technology that can be used in combination with other separation technologies to make non-traditional waters available for use in evaporative cooling towers in thermoelectric power plants. Research will include material selection and synthesis; material recycle and bench-top demonstration; and design engineering, scale-up, and pilot demonstration. Results are expected to allow for the economical use of many impaired waters that are currently too expensive to treat with current technology. (DOE share: $1,367,930; recipient share: $586,256; duration: 36 months)

ArcelorMittal reports second quarter and first half 2008 results

Luxembourg, 30 July, 2008 – ArcelorMittal (referred to as “ArcelorMittal”, or “the Company”) (New York: MT; Amsterdam: MT; Madrid: MTS; Paris: MTP; Brussels: MTBL; Luxembourg: MT), the world’s leading steel company, today announces results for the three and six month periods ended June 30, 2008.

H108 highlights: 

Sales of $67.6 billion, up 31% compared with H107 
EBITDA 1 of $13.1 billion, up 35% compared with H107 
Net Income of $8.2 billion, up 65% as compared with H107 
Capital expenditure of $2.3 billion in H108 
Q208 highlights: 

Sales of $37.8 billion, up 39% compared with Q207 
EBITDA of $8.0 billion, up 51% compared with Q207 
Net Income of $5.8 billion, up 114% as compared with Q207 
Capital expenditure of $1.4 billion in Q208 
Recent Key Announcements 

Groundbreaking global health and safety agreement signed with labour unions to further improve Occupational Health & Safety 
Agreements signed to acquire Mid Vol Coal Group and Concept Group (2 metallurgical coal companies located in West Virginia, USA) 
Allocated mining lease for the Karampada iron-ore deposit in Jharkhand, India 
Acquisition of Bayou Steel (manufacture of structural steel in Louisiana, USA) 
Launch of new clean technology venture capital fund 
Guidance for Q308 

Q308 EBITDA guidance to exceed $8.5 billion 
Commenting, Mr Lakshmi N. Mittal, Chairman and CEO , ArcelorMittal, said: 

We are pleased to report results for the first half of 2008, with EBITDA of $13.1 billion up 35% over the same period in 2007. This reflects the diversity and strength of the ArcelorMittal business model, in particular the significant diversification of our value chain including our considerable mining operations. 

We continue to look for opportunities to further enhance our raw material self sufficiency, with recent investments being announced in Africa, the Americas and Australia. 

Our financial strength enables us to continue to invest heavily in the development of the business, particularly relating to brownfield growth and improving product quality and mix. This year we expect capital expenditures to reach $7 billion, representing 36% of 2007 EBITDA. 

Financial highlights (on the basis of IFRS 2 , amounts in US$ and Euros 3 ): 

(In millions of US dollars except earnings per share and shipments data)

Results US Dollars  
Q2 2008 Q1 2008 Q2 2007 H1 2008 H1 2007  
Shipments (Million MT) 4 29.8 29.2 28.7 59.0 55.7  
Sales 37,840 29,809 27,223 67,649 51,699  
EBITDA 8,046 5,044 5,326 13,090 9,672  
Operating income 6,621 3,614 4,232 10,235 7,687  
Net income 5,839 2,371 2,723 8,210 4,973  
Basic earnings per share $4.20 $1.69 $1.97 $5.87 $3.60  



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jai Balaji Industries posts yet another impressive results

Kolkata, 29th July 2008: Jai Balaji Industries Limited have once again posted impressive results for the quarter ended 30th June , 2008. Total Income for the quarter was Rs 470.74 crore as compared to Rs 252.79 crore in the same period last year, reflecting an increase of 86 %. The profit before tax and net profit for the quarter were Rs 60.55 crore (Rs 35.79 crore) and Rs 46.30 crore (Rs 23.59 crore) respectively, showing a hefty increase of 69% and 96 % respectively. The earning per share has gone upto Rs.9.82 for Rs.5.01 quarter on quarter basis. 

Regarding the expansion plans at its Durgapur plant, the company has already commenced trial production for its Sinter Plant having a capacity of 0.6 million tonne and shall declare commercial production immediately of handing over the same by the technical team. Moreover, the Electric Arc Furnace ( EAF ) project is on schedule the company is hopeful to commence trial production of the same in this quarter. Other projects viz. Ferro Alloys plant with a capacity of 0.25 lac tonne p.a and another 35 MW Captive Power Plant at Durgapur are on schedule and to commence production during this year. 

Commenting on the results and the future plans of the company, Aditya Jajodia, Chairman & Managing Director, Jai Balaji Industries said, ‘the company has been consistently delivering continuous growth both in topline as well as in the bottomline with the support of its stakeholders. With our expansion plans moving ahead as per schedule, we are confident that Jai Balaji Industries will grow into a large and efficient steel company.’

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Second India-Japan Strategic Dialogue on Economic Issues held

The Second India-Japan Strategic Dialogue on Economic Issues was held in Tokyo yesterday between an Indian delegation led by Dr. D. Subbarao, Finance Secretary and Mr. M.Kohno, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The dialogue focused on Japanese support for two flagship infrastructure projects : (i) Delhi-Mumbai Dedicated Freight Corridor; and (ii) Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Japanese support for the new IIT coming up at Hyderabad as well as collaboration in information and technology and basic science research were the other items of the agenda. This dialogue assumes significance as it sets the agenda for the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Japan in October, 2008.

The Indian delegation comprised, apart from the Finance Secretary, H.K.Singh, Indian Ambassador to Japan, Sanjay Krishna, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and R.Ramanujam, Minister(Economic) in the Indian Embassy. 

Separately, Dr. Subbarao, Finance Secretary addressed a Roundtable Conference of a select group of Japanese businessmen, industrialists, bankers and financial analysts. The Finance Secretary said that Japanese investment in India, although sizeable, is still far short of the potential of Japan to invest or the capacity of India to absorb. India, he said, offers a huge market with a growing middle class and rising incomes, and, hence, very rewarding investment opportunities, particularly in the infrastructure sectors. There is need to exploit the natural complementarities between India and Japan and increase Japanese engagement in India to the mutual advantage of both countries. 

The Finance Secretary expressed optimism that the India growth story is still credible and intact. India clocked an annual growth of 8.9% on a compound average basis over the last five years. India's growth is based on strong fundamentals and the current expansion is not a one off episode. Growth this year could, of course, moderate because of pressures of inflation and the global down turn. 

Responding to whether India could decouple from the rest of the world, the Finance Secretary said that in a rapidly globalizing world, it is not possible for any country to 'decouple' from the global developments. If any large economy could, in fact, decouple, it is India. This is because India's growth draws largely from domestic demand and investment unlike a number of other fast growing Asian economies. However, even India is impacted by the global down turn through the trade and credit channels. Also, India is dependent on imports for oil and is a price taker in the world market, and is impacted by the rising crude prices. 

Questions from Japanese businessmen centered around bridging the infrastructure deficit, streamlining the tax structure, skill development and the pace of reforms especially in insurance and foreign investment. Dr. Subbarao responded by saying that reforms are a continuous process, that the Indian track record on reform implementation is credible and that second generation reforms inevitably take time to implement, especially in a democratic and decentralized system. Several Japanese businessmen, already invested in India, have spoken of their happy experience of investing in India and of the skill and productivity levels in India. The Japanese side attached importance to early conclusion of the ongoing of Composite Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The Japanese side also noted that while large business houses have the capacity to do pre-investment research, there is need to set up systems for facilitating investment by SMEs. 

The Finance Secretary said that the inflationary pressures at the global level will subside when the supply response takes effect over the next few months.

Steps to contain steel prices

During the last fortnight steel prices in respect of pig iron, ingots, rounds, TMT, Angles, plates, GP sheets and sponge iron have come down in the range of 3-6 %. Retail prices of HR coil, CR coil and wire rods have shown a slight downward trend, mainly in view of strict vigilance exercised over the dealers. 

Major steel producers, namely SAIL, Essar, JSW and Ispat have published advertisements in the newspapers giving the range of prices, their channel of distribution and other relevant details. 

Small and medium pipe manufacturers have informed that they have reduced the price of steel tubes & pipes up to 16 mm diameter by 10%. 

Major steel companies have initiated action, as follows, for improvement of steel availability in the domestic market: 

(i) SAIL has a wide dealer network covering almost all the districts in the country. Recently SAIL has issued instructions fixing a maximum retail price (MRP) for its dealers, which gives them a margin of Rs 1000-1200 per tonne of material. SAIL has also planned to open retail outlets. Currently, the retail sale of flat products is restricted to bonafide consumers only. 

(ii) Essar Steel limited has established hyper marts in almost all the States for sale of flat products of common categories of HR and CR coils. The retail prices at such hypermart are as per the price, published by the company in their official website. The material is sold to bonafide consumers on production of Excise Registration Certificate. 

(iii) Tata Steel has a wide dealers network for its TMT and GP/GC products. The flat products of Tata Steel are sold through the marketing department of the company. 

(iv) JSW Steel does not have any retail outlet, but it has arrangement with franchise dealers who arrange to stock the materials and provide the logistic arrangements. The actual sale and billing is however, done by the company at the dealers’ premises, at company rates.

Studies related to efficiency in water use in major and medium irrigation projects

Studies related to efficiency in water use in respect of major and medium irrigation projects for 43 projects by WALMIs and Research Institutes with a total estimated cost of Rs. 213.59 lakhs were taken up under Research and Development Programmes of the Ministry of Water Resources. Out of this, Final Report in respect of 9 studies and Draft Final Report in respect of 26 Studies have been received so far out of which 16 studies have been accepted. Remaining 8 studies are under progress. The Ministry has further decided to review the outcome of these studies to assess its utility and effectiveness before awarding further such studies.

The present water use efficiency of irrigation projects is quite low and there is ample scope for improvement of the same. This aspect has been emphasised in various policy statements of the Government of India. During the year 2005-06, the issue was discussed in detail in the Ministry and it was decided that Central Water Commission would work out a system to construct a Data Bank relating to water use efficiency in all major and medium irrigation projects in the country. Accordingly, it was decided to carry out Water Use Efficiency Studies of all completed major and medium irrigation projects in the country under the R&D programme of Ministry of Water Resources. A Technical Advisory Committee headed by Member (WP&P), CWC was constituted to identify project specific studies etc and also identify agencies to carry out these studies. These studies are to be taken up to cover all major and medium projects.

Coal production in the month of June, 2008

During the month of June, 2008, the actual coal produced by Coal India Ltd. (CIL) and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) was 31.32 million tonnes as against the AAP target of 34.26 million tonnes. The actual coal production of CIL and SCCL during the June 2007 was 29.93 Million tonnes. Therefore, there was a growth of about 4.64% in the month of June, 2008 over the corresponding period of previous year. 

Coal dispatches to power sector during June, 2008 was 24.90 million tonnes.

During the month of June 2008, E-auction was held in all coal producing companies of CIL. The provisional result of the E-auction in CIL indicates that during June, 2008 the total quantity offered was 155.92 lakh tones as against which 49.06 Lakh tones was allocated. Average floor(notified price) price in June, 2008 was Rs. 946.60 per tonne against the average Bid price of Rs. 1233.49 per tonne indicating a percentage increase of 30.31%.

Allocation of Coal Blocks

 Two more captive coal blocks viz. Rohne coal block was allocated to M/s JSW Steel Ltd, M/s Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd. and M/S Jai Balaji Industries Ltd on 05.06.08 and Lohara (East) coal block was allocated to M/S Murli Industries Ltd and M/S Grace Industries Ltd on 27.06.08. 

Outstanding dues from Consumers to Coal India Limited and Neyveli Lignite Corporation 

The outstanding dues (including payable by power sector to coal companies as on 16.6.2008(provisional) was Rs.2227.62 crores as against Rs.2496.45 crores(p) upto 15.5.2008. The undisputed dues accounted for Rs.1217.19 crores out of total outstanding.

The outstanding dues of NLC as on 30.06.2008 was Rs. 789.72 crores (provisional).

Friday, July 25, 2008

ArcelorMittal reinforces its Steel Service Center network in Brazil

Luxembourg, 25 July 2008 - ArcelorMittal has acquired a 70% share of Manchester Tubos e Perfilados S.A, the Brazilian steel processor and distributor located in Contagem, Minas Gerais. This new acquisition will reinforce ArcelorMittal's downstream position in Brazil, following the acquisition on April 3rd of a 50% stake in Gonvarri Brasil.

With the acquisition of Manchester, and with its partnership with Gonvarri, ArcelorMittal will widen its product offering in the distribution segment in Brazil. The Group will now offer an extended range of flat products (coils and blanks), profiles, tubes and pipes. 

From this new location, ArcelorMittal will target the construction market. "Penetrating this fast growing market with a diversified offer, from tubes to structural profiles, is considered as a great opportunity for the Group", said Michel Wurth, member of the Group Management Board, in charge of Steel Solutions and Services.

Manchester was founded in 1989 and is privately owned. It serves the construction segment, which represents 50% of its activity, as well as the industry and automotive segments. Its capacity is 240,000 tonnes per year for end products, and 60,000 tonnes per year for processed products (cut to length and slit products). 2007 net sales were 270 million Reals. The company employs 500 people. 

About ArcelorMittal 

ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel company, with over 310,000 employees in more than 60 countries. 

ArcelorMittal is the leader in all major global steel markets, including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with leading R&D and technology, as well as sizeable captive supplies of raw materials and outstanding distribution networks. With an industrial presence in over 20 countries spanning four continents, the Company covers all of the key steel markets, from emerging to mature.

Through its core values of Sustainability, Quality and Leadership, ArcelorMittal commits to operating in a responsible way with respect to the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees, contractors and the communities in which it operates. It is also committed to the sustainable management of the environment and of finite resources. ArcelorMittal recognises that it has a significant responsibility to tackle the global climate change challenge: it takes a leading role in the industry's efforts to develop breakthrough steelmaking technologies and is actively researching and developing steel-based technologies and solutions that contribute to combat climate change.

In 2007 ArcelorMittal had revenues of USD 105.2 billion and crude steel production of 116 million tonnes, representing around 10 per cent of world steel output.

ArcelorMittal is listed on the stock exchanges of New York (MT), Amsterdam (MT), Paris (MTP), Brussels (MTBL), Luxembourg (MT) and on the Spanish stock exchanges of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia (MTS).


The ASSOCHAM has set a target to itself to facilitate Rs. 8 lakh crore worth of fresh investments for the State of West Bengal in next 3 years, which will help generate job opportunities for 6 lakhs of its skilled and semi-skilled workforce. 

Stating this at his maiden Press Conference held here on Friday, the newly elected President of ASSOCHAM, Mr. Sajjan Jindal, who is one of the major investors in West Bengal said, the State will continue to be a focused State for the Chamber for another three years.

He said, though the Chamber had set a target of Rs.1 lakh crore of investment for the state for 2007-08, the target was far exceeded as the State attracted total investments of over Rs. 3 lakh crores.

The ASSOCHAM Chief who addressed the media along with its Secretary General, Mr. D S Rawat further stated that the West Bengal topped a league of Indian states attracting massive investment plans during 2006-07 and 2007-08 and left behind even forward looking States such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and almost the entire Southern belt.

It may be mentioned here that in 2007-08, when Mr. Venugopal N. Dhoot, Chairman of Videocon Group was the President of ASSOCHAM, he had declared West Bengal as a focused State from investment point of view. ASSOCHAM organized road shows inside and outside the country to convince their investors to invest in West Bengal because of its investment friendly policies.  

The major investors in the state are SAIL, Larsen & Toubro, JSW, DLF, IOC, Videocon, Reliance, RPG Group, Merlin Group, Jindal Steel, Jai Balaji Group, Adhunik Steel etc. The investments flows have been primarily to sectors like steel, oil, power, gas, electronics, cement, aviation, real estate and IT.  

In the backdrop of this, Mr. Jindal announced that ASSOCHAM would continue to focus on steel, oil, automobile, power, renewable energy, textile, cement, IT, telecom, real estate and SSI hub in view of their potential factor so that the State has more and more of such players. These sectors would have the highest employment generation potential and will be beneficial.

The Chamber Chief pointed out that with rich mineral base in the State, steel sector attracted a whopping investments announcements to the tune about Rs.57,000 crore in the last 12 months and so.  

Mr. Jindal who is the Vice Chairman & Managing Director of JSW and one of the major investor’s clarified that the industrial climate of the entire state under the current regime has turned out to be extremely investor friendly which is resulting in transformation of infrastructure of West Bengal.  

The consequences of economic policies pursued and followed by the Buddadeb Bhattacharjee government have sent absolutely positive and encouraging signals to investors and the fact today is because of this, West Bengal is becoming a major hub of industrial activities in the entire Eastern part of Indian Peninsula.  

Commenting on stray incidences of violence and resentments that erupted in West Bengal against its sectorial industrial development, the ASSOCHAM Chief said that such cases do happen when development takes place and have temporary impact and ultimately development gets the preference.

Mr. Jindal favoured that at times when State is in the midst of becoming `preferred investment destination’, the transparent land acquisition policy should be in place and supported the government by saying that whose land is acquired must get adequate compensation, job and social security.

 He favoured the idea that land oustees in the process of industrial transformation should be made stakeholders to such processes so that responsibilities are assigned on them to become its integral part.  

Mr. Jindal concluded saying that on account of forward looking policies of the current regime, the data show that West Bengal has already emerged as the leading State in cornering the highest investments in fiscal 2007-08. 

The ASSOCHAM Chief exuded confidence that in future, the West Bengal government will do its best and the ASSOCHAM would be able to accomplish its target for generating Rs. 8 lakh crore of additional investment with job opportunities for its 6 lakh workforce.

In this connection, Mr. Jindal said the Chamber shall organize road shows in India and abroad and further added that international repute agency has been engaged to undertake the study of the State and identify newer areas for fresh investment.



The following is the text of the statement on inflation issued by the Ministry of Finance, here today:

Inflation, on a week-on-week basis, has continued to remain stable. The WPI moved up only marginally from 238.7 in the week ending July 5, 2008 to 239.0 in the week ending July 12, 2008; the rate of inflation for the week ending July 12, 2008 stands at 11.89 per cent, marginally lower than the rate of 11.91 per cent reported last week. 

In the ‘primary articles’ group, the annual point-to-point inflation increased to 10.15 per cent, as compared to 9.92 per cent reported last week, but lower than 10.84 per cent reported for the week ending June 28, 2008. Out of a total of 98 articles, 10 articles have shown a decline in prices as compared to July 5, 2008. These include fish-marine, chillies-dry, tea, potatoes, oranges, garlic, cardamom, black pepper, maize and cummin. Another 54 articles have shown no increase in prices. 

Prices of all the 19 articles in commodity group ‘fuel and power’ have not shown any increase. 

In the case of ‘manufactured products’, out of a total 318 commodities, a large number, 299 in all, have shown no increase in prices over the last week. In the case of 9 commodities there is a decline in prices. These commodities include rice bran oil, cottonseed oil, groundnut oil, imported edible oil, gur, texturised yarn, hessian bags and cloth and liquid vitamins. Only 10 products, particularly lead and zinc ingots, groundnut cake, tyre cord fabrics and rubber chemicals witnessed an increase in prices 

The annual inflation rate for the group of 30 essential commodities continues to be range-bound. For the week ending July 12, 2008 it stands at 5.82 per cent. Prices of essential commodities which include food grains, pulses, edible oils, vegetables, dairy products and some other commodities including kerosene, soap and safety matches have more or less stabilized.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rio Tinto’s innovative mine-gate iron ore sales arrangement with Iron Ore Holdings for a new Pilbara mine

Rio Tinto, through its Hamersley Iron subsidiary, and Iron Ore Holdings Limited (ASX: IOH) agreed today on commercial terms for an innovative mine-gate sales arrangement. Under the arrangement, Rio Tinto would purchase iron ore from a new IOH mine at Phil’s Creek, 90 kilometres from Newman.  

Once the feasibility of developing the Phil’s Creek deposit is proven, the mine would be owned and operated by IOH, and Rio Tinto would purchase the supplied iron ore and transport it for sale to its customers. IOH would deliver the ore to the Yandicoogina stockyard, where Rio Tinto would assume ownership. The mine would produce an estimated one to 1.5 million tonnes a year. 

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh said the agreement was an innovative solution that suited both parties. 

“This commercial agreement represents an excellent opportunity for Rio Tinto to gain access to extra tonnage, and importantly, in a way that does not jeopardise the efficiency of our fully integrated production system.” 

“It also enables IOH to develop a small resource that would face large capital costs on a stand-alone basis and most likely remain undeveloped,” he said 

Mr Walsh said: “The output from this proposed mine is less than one per cent of our total Pilbara production. With our exponential growth from 220 to 320 million tonnes per year and beyond, and infrastructure expansions possibly preceding mine supply, we can stockpile the ore to capitalise on rail and shipping opportunities as they arise.” 

“Importantly, it demonstrates our preferred alternative to the growing demands from Government and industry for access to our rail infrastructure. The agreement is commercially-based and balances the risks for both parties,” Mr Walsh said. 

The Phil’s Creek deposit comprises 8.3 million tonnes of Indicated Mineral Resources grading 58.1%Fe, which IOH has reported in accordance with the 2004 JORC code.1 The deposit is pisolite ore situated only five kilometres from Rio Tinto’s Yandicoogina mine, the largest iron ore mine in Australia. 

The proposal requires the approval of the Western Australian Government. 

1Source: IOH Quarterly Activities Report, 30 April 2007. 

About Rio Tinto 
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. 
Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Donald Trump Junior setting up US$ 1 billion fund to invest in property in India

New Delhi: Donald Trump Junior, is planning to set up a US$ 1 billion fund to invest in property in India. His father had amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune in real estate. Trump will be joining Deutsche Bank AG and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. for setting up funds for the investment. 

India had recorded the world's highest growth in millionaires in 2007, the reason behind the huge demand for luxury homes. According to a report by Merrill Lynch and Co. and Cap Gemini SA on June 24, 2008, the number of Indians with financial assets of more than US$ 1 million rose by 23 per cent in 2007, outdoing China's 20 per cent and Brazil's 19 per cent growth. 

In a telephone interview from New York Trump revealed that he was likely to set up the privately held fund with a group of investors, which would include an Indian family. However, the details of how the money would be raised and when the first investment would be made were not let out. 

"The fund will be for acquisitions of real estate in the high end, and across the spectrum," Trump said. "The market place is beginning to understand and appreciate luxury, so there is a great opening for us there, as well as in resorts," he said. 

"Our entry has to be in Mumbai and that's where everything is going on right now in terms of the high-end real estate," he added. "That's the place where one is going to achieve the highest prices per square foot. It sets the tone for all of the other future developments." 

Trump Organization Inc. also plans to set up a residential and hotel project in Mumbai in partnership with a local company. 

With growth forecasts above 8 per cent for this year, there is an inflow of global funds into India. Rising incomes is further expected to raise the demand for property. 

Lehman's real estate fund last month invested in a US$ 175 million stake, (its biggest investment in India's realty sector), in a Mumbai project, being development by Unitech Ltd. Deutsche Bank and other private equity investors invested US$ 425 million in the Lodha Group of Mumbai, in 2007. Deutsche Bank's RREEF unit will be investing more than US$ 1 billion in India's real estate and infrastructure assets by 2011.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ArcelorMittal announces electrical steel investment in Southern France

Luxembourg / Saint Chély d'Apcher, 22 July 2008 - ArcelorMittal has announced a 76 million euros investment to expand electrical steel production capacity at its Saint Chély d'Apcher plant in Southern France, a move in line with the Group's strategy to strengthen its position in high added value steel products and solutions that contribute to lower carbon dioxide emissions.

The addition of a new 180,000 tonnes continuous annealing line will take Saint Chély d'Apcher's capacity to 210,000 tonnes per year of mostly high end non-grain oriented electrical steels, which are used among others in electric engines and wind turbines. The new line is scheduled to become operational during the second quarter of 2010.

Michel Wurth, member of ArcelorMittal's Group Management Board in charge of ArcelorMittal Flat Carbon Europe, commented: "This is a very exciting investment. The addition of a continuous annealing line in Saint Chély d'Apcher will help the plant better serve its customers. It comes as further proof that ArcelorMittal is actively pursuing the development of steel grades and solutions which contribute to build energy-efficient and environmentally friendly equipments. And last but not least it secures the plant's future for many years".

Monday, July 21, 2008

ArcelorMittal announces acquisition of Concept Group

Luxembourg, 21 July 2008 - ArcelorMittal, the world's largest integrated metals and mining company, today announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire the Concept Group ("Concept").

Concept, located in southern West Virginia and adjacent to the recently acquired Mid Vol Coal Group in the Central Appalachian Coal Basin, produced 0.8 million tons of metallurgical coking coal in 2007 and has control over recoverable saleable reserves and resources in excess of 57 million tons.

Commenting, Sudhir Maheshwari, Member of ArcelorMittal's Group Management Board with responsibility for M&A, Project and Business Development, said:

"With raw material costs continuing to soar, increasing our upstream self sufficiency in primary raw materials is a critical component of ArcelorMittal's growth strategy. Concept's proximity to Mid Vol's operations means we can draw on the strengths of both companies to increase their combined production capacity. Whilst Mid Vol's expertise is in surface mining techniques, Concept's expertise rests with underground mining methods. However, both operations have the potential to combine both practices. We look forward to integrating Concept's operations into the ArcelorMittal group." 

Note to Editors
The reserve and resource figure is presented as per the Marshall Miller report commissioned by Concept using methodology outlined in United States Geological Survey (USGS) Circular 891 and United States Securities and Esxchange Commission (SEC) Industry Guide 7

SAIL Takes firm steps to contain retail Steel Prices

The country's flagship public sector undertaking in the steel sector, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), has informed its MoU HR Coil customers in writing that their purchases from the company are only meant for actual consumption and that any resale of the product will attract punitive action. The MoU customers have also been advised to inform SAIL about their stock position on a regular basis. These directions are part of a slew of measures taken by the company to ensure that retail prices of its steel products are contained in the market. 

SAIL, which has not changed its selling prices since May '08, in line with its commitment to the Government, has also cautioned its dealers about selling SAIL products beyond MRRP limits. Branch sales offices of SAIL have been alerted to keep a strict vigil on this and instructed to stop supplies to dealers who do not adhere to the direction. SAIL has already informed the public about operating MRRP of products like TMT Bar and GP/GC sheets through newspaper advertisements and its own website The company has also advertised in newspapers about the chargeable price of HR Coil in the National Capital Region.

Among other measures taken to contain retail prices of SAIL products in the market, is an advisory to trade MoU customers to limit retail margins to within Rs. 1,200 per tonne over the price at which they have procured from SAIL. Any departure from this limit will invite stern action. These customers have also been advised to inform SAIL about their stockholding of SAIL products on a weekly basis.

To further ensure that steel reaches actual consumers at correct prices, SAIL has introduced a special scheme in Kolkata and Faridabad for supply of HSM Plates and CR Coils/Sheets to consumers who require up to 10 tonnes of these items against an affidavit acknowledging self-consumption. This has also been advertised through the print media.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI)

June 2008 crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to IISI

Brussels, 18 July 2008 – World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the
International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) was 118.8 million metric tons (mmt) in June. This is 5.9% higher than the same month last year.
Total world crude steel production was 696 mmt in the first half of 2008, a 5.7% increase over the same period in 2007.
In the first six months of 2008, China produced 263.2 mmt of crude steel, an increase of 9.6% compared to the same period in 2007. In June 2008, China’s moving annual total (MAT) growth rate slowed further to 10.2%, compared to its MAT growth rate peak of 26.3% in January 2006. China’s crude steel production for June 2008 was 46.9 mmt, an increase of 10.2% on June 2007.
Overall, Asia produced 68.3 mmt of crude steel in June 2008 compared to 62.8 mmt in June 2007, an 8.7% increase in crude steel production.
Total crude steel production in the EU was 18.1 mmt, 1.8% higher than for June 2007. The largest producer in the EU is Germany, with 4.1 mmt of crude steel, an increase of 2.1% compared to the same month last year.
The ‘Other Europe’ region of seven countries outside the EU produced 2.9 mmt in June 2008, an increase of 15.5% from June 2007. Turkey’s crude steel production was 2.5 mmt, which was 17.5% higher than the same month last year. Turkey produced 10.6% more crude steel in the first six months of 2008 than over the same period last year.

Notes :
• The International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) is one of the largest and most dynamic industry associations in the world. IISI represents approximately 180 steel producers (including 19 of the world's 20 largest steel companies), national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes. IISI members produce around 75% of the world's steel (excluding China) and the growing membership in China now accounts for over 20% of Chinese production.
• MAT: The moving annual total is the sum of the previous 12 months. Each month the crude steel production figure for the new month is added to the MAT, while the figure for the first month of the former 12 is subtracted.

Consultative Committee of the Members of Parliament for Power meet to review the activities of DVC

The Consultative Committee of the Members of Parliament for the Ministry of Power met today in Ranchi to review the activities of the Damodar Valley Corporation, DVC. The Chairman of the Committee and the Union Power Minister, Shri Sushilkumar Shinde welcomed the Members and apprised them of the multifaceted activities taken up by the DVC. He said that the DVC has taken a lead role in accomplishing the central sector target for capacity addition by pledging to add 9460 MW within the 11th Plan and another 1320 MW by end of 2012, when Raghunathpur TPS Phase-II with 2X2=660 MW Unit with super critical technology will be commissioned. Thus, the DVC will be having a thermal operating capacity of 10780 MW in another four years’ time which will be about five times the capacity of 2210 MW at the end of the 10th Plan. He informed the Members that by generating 14732 million unit during last year, the DVC thermal unit have created a new record surpassing previous year’s generation by 7%. This year the DVC is anticipating further improvement to the tune of 20%.

Shri Shinde lauded the efforts of the DVC for also taking up projects in social sector through various new initiatives to improve the quality of life of the people living in the Damodar Valley. 

The Minister of State for Power and Commerce, Shri Jairam Ramesh was present in the meeting. The Members of Parliament who participated in the meeting included Shri Basudeb Acharya, Shri E. Ponnuswamy, Shri Harish Rawat, Shri S.K. Kharventhan, Smt. Neeta Pateriya, Shri. A. R. Shaheen, Shri Chandershekhar Dubey, Shri B.P. Mehta, Shri Teklal Mahto, Shri S.S. Deshmukh and Shri D.S. Paraste. Secretary, Ministry of Power, Shri Anil Razdan, other senior officials of the Ministry and the Chairman and Managing Director of several PSUs were also present. 

CMD, DVC, Shri A.K. Burman made a detailed presentation on the initiatives and issues related to the activities of the Corporation. The Members praised the multidimensional job of the DVC, particularly its contribution to provide electricity in un-electrified villages under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. In Jharkhand, DVC has taken the responsibility to electrify 83775 villages. Some of the Members also gave suggestions to further improve the performance of the DVC. These included water conservation and water management for greater industrialization, more power generation, better HR management, more local participation, etc. 

DVC, the dream child of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, is the first multipurpose river valley project of the country set up after independence on the lines of Tennessee Valley Authority of the United States of America. It later emerged as a harbinger of economic prosperity in the valley by taking up multifaceted activities as diverse as flood control, irrigation, generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, afforestation and soil conservation and socio-economic development.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gujarat NRE Coke posts fantastic Q1 results, Declares Bonus and enhanced dividends

Kolkata, July 18th 2008. The Board of Directors of Gujarat NRE Coke met and discussed the results of the company for the quarter ended June 30th 2008. The company’s net sales / income from operations went up to 377.64 crores as against Rs 148. 89 crores in the corresponding quarter in the previous financial year. The Earning Before Interest, Depreciation and Tax (EBIDTA) too has shown a remarkable increase, going up from Rs 62.68 crores to Rs 130.96 crores. . “This has been the highest quarterly turnover and earnings achieved by the company since inception” said Mr Arun Kumar Jagatramka, Vice Chairman and Managing Director “and I am naturally happy to be announcing them”.

Buoyed by the steady, all round growth in the performance of the company, the Board recommended a dividend of 25 % which entails a distribution of Rs 97 crores in absolute terms as against Rs 45 crores in the last year.

“I am also pleased” said Mr Jagatramka, ” to recommend on behalf of the Board, a bonus issue in the ratio of 2 equity shares for every 5 shares held on date. Shareholders, always consider a bonus issue as an effort by the management to strengthen existing ties and I would like to take the opportunity of thanking all our shareholders who have and continue to repose their faith on the company. We are growing, and it is but natural that the fruits of growth and enhanced prosperity should percolate amongst the happy NRE family.”

The company also announced its plans to set up a green field one million ton coke plant in Andhra Pradesh involving an investment of Rs 450 crores. The necessary land for the plant has already been acquired and the company is all set to go full steam ahead with the project.

The company has already installed 30 MW of wind power during the last one year and is further installing an additional 30 MW by September 2008 taking the total wind power capacity in the company to 87.5 MW.

Gujarat NRE Coke is also in the process of installing Waste Heat Recovery Power Plants for an aggregate capacity of 60 MW across all its coke plants at a total project cost of Rs 300 crores.

The current coke making capacity with the company is 1 million tons and the same is being increased to 1.25 million tons by the end of the current financial year.

The production from the second coal mine in Australia also commenced during the quarter and with both its mines in production, the company expects to get 1.2 million tons in 2008/09 as against 0.4 million tons in 2007/08. The company is also working towards developing both mines to achieve a coal production target of 7 million tons by the year 2012-13. 

Considering the fact that the company’s current capex needs are being met adequately by internal accruals and other standard means, the Board of Directors decided to keep the proposal for a rights issue in abeyance.

Explaining the rationale behind the proposed new plant, Mr Jagatramka said “ The demand for coke in India is expected to grow at a very healthy rate as more and more new steel plants are expected in the horizon. The plant will also be complementary to the group’s mining plans in Australia which are expected to grow exponentially in the near future and will require coke production facilities to ensure the maximization of efficiencies. Thus, the new plant makes sense, in any way you look at it.” 

Queensland may boost exports by 40%

The Queensland State government said it is considering three new coal mine projects and the development of Australias first coal port in 25 years that would boost the states coal export capacity by 40%.

Two projects recently proposed for approval are Waratah Coals A$5.3 billion ($5.19 billion) Galilee venture, which may produce 25 million mt of thermal coal/year, and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliances plan to develop new mines at Daunia and Caval Ridge and expand operations at Goonyella Riverside, according to a statement from Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

BMAs Bowen Basin Growth Project would boost coking coal exports in the area by about 20 million mt/year, Bligh was cited as saying in the statement. Both these major coal mining proposals have been declared significant projects by the Coordinator-General and will now undergo a rigorous environmental assessment process, the statement said.

A coal port is planned to be built near Shoalwater Bay between Rockhampton and Mackay with an export capacity of up to 100 million mt/year, linked to the Galilee Basin by a new 500 km rail line that would open this region to coal exports for the first time, according to the statement.

Defense Force land is being targeted for use so the adjacent Byfield National Park would not be affected, it said. The third proposal  the Xstrata Coal-led 30 million mt/year Wandoan open cut mine  was declared a significant project in December, the statement said.

The coordinator-general expects to release draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statements for the new proposals by late September and for the Wandoan project shortly, it said.

Waratah Coals Galilee proposal involves a large scale mine in central Queensland, which aims to start exporting coal by 2012 and may expand production to 50 million mt/year. The project may create 2,200 jobs during construction and 760 jobs during operation. Waratah Coal on June 24 announced inferred resources in the Galilee Basin totaled 4.355 billion mt as a result of drilling to date and a further resource target of 675-840 million mt had been identified.

Statement of Finance Ministry on inflation

“Inflation, on a week-on-week basis, has stabilised. The WPI moved up only marginally from 238.1 in the week ending June 28, 2008 to 238.7 in the week ending July 5, 2008; the rate of inflation for the week ending July 5, 2008 stands at 11.91 per cent, very marginally higher than the rate of 11.89 per cent reported last week. 

In the ‘primary articles’ group, the annual point-to-point inflation has declined to 9.92 per cent, as compared to 10.84 per cent reported last week. Out of a total of 98 articles, 13 articles have shown a decline in prices as compared to June 28, 2008. These include rice, jowar, onion, brinjal, black pepper, okra, barley, groundnut seed, gram and banana. Another 57 articles have shown no increase in prices. 

In the case of ‘manufactured products’, out of a total 320 commodities, a large number, 281 in all, have shown no increase in prices over the last week. In the case of 12 commodities there is a decline in prices. These commodities include salt, sugar, other iron and steel, lead ingots, zinc ingots, groundnut oil, deoiled cake, bran, liquid chlorine and caustic soda. 

In the ‘fuel power and light’ group, there is a decline in prices of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). There is an increase in prices of aviation turbine fuel, furnace oil, light diesel oil, and naphtha, which are driven by international crude prices. 

The annual inflation rate for the group of 30 essential commodities has also declined to 5.74 from 5.98 per cent reported for the week ending June 28, 2008. Prices of essential commodities which include food grains, pulses, edible oils, vegetables, dairy products and some other commodities including kerosene, soap and safety matches have more or less stabilised.”

Food Processing Sector is going to be the next grwoth engine of the Indian Economy – Shri Sahai INDIA – HUB FOR PROCESSED FOODS

The Agriculture and Food Processing are very important sectors of the Indian Economy in terms of natural resources base and manpower availability. India holds tremendous advantages in agriculture for processing and value addition, contributing 19 per cent of India’s GDP. Speaking at the Summit on Processed Food – Advantage India 2008 “Feeding Global Business Opportunities”, Shri Subhodh Kant Sahai, Minister for Food Processing Industries said that it presents a huge growth opportunity for the country. The Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) has organized the Summit. He further said that Food Processing Sector is a tax less sector, within four years the taxes have come down from 40 per cent to 5 per cent. The Ministry of Food Processing is expanding specific initiatives to bring the food processing sector in line with other booming sectors like automotive and IT. The Ministry has brought in integrated food law, thereby paving the way for merger, amendment as well as repealing 15 separate laws that currently govern the country’s food sector. This law also proposes to empower a single authority to implement the integrated law. Further, the total outcome of the 11th Five Year Plan would be coming in shortly.

Talking about the various incentives available for the new ventures he said that the Government is making investor-friendly policies, which are tax-free to woo the investors. The government grant has been decentralized so that one can avail the benefits from the same bank via a single window. Consequently, it saves the investor’s time. Minister further added that there is no licensing for the first five years and only 25 per cent after that.

Highlighting the potential of the sector Shri Sahai said that it could provide income generation opportunities for 70 per cent of the country’s population.

The Government has introduced many initiatives to increase the level of food processing percentage from the present low levels. The initiatives include:

• Automatic approval to Foreign Direct Investment upto 100 per cent equity in FPI sector excluding alcoholic beverages and a few reserved items.

• Fruits & vegetables products, condensed milk, ice cream, meat production, fish/poultry, pectins, pasta, dairy machineries completely exempt from Central Excise Duty.

• Customs Duty on Packaging Machine reduced.

• Central Excise Duty on meat, poultry and fish reduced to 8 percent.

• Income Tax rebate allowed for new industries in fruits and vegetables.

• Institutional & Credit support

• Food parks approved to enable small and medium food and beverage units to set up and to use capital intensive common facilities such as cold storage, warehouse, quality control labs, effluent treatment plant, etc.

Indian ethnic food items are very famous all over the world. The country not only produce ethnic food products but also produce Chinese, French, Japanese, Thai and other international cuisines with same quality and taste, as their home country.

Domestic and global markets, quality and safety have become critical requirements for enterprises producing foods and providing food related services. The concept of food safety and quality is important for all stakeholders starting from the farmers to the processors, to the retailers and to the consumers. There are large number of Indian and overseas buyers for the Food Processing Sector.

Humanitarian aid agencies join forces against corruption Berlin, 17 July 2008

Leaders in the humanitarian community have resolved to do more to address the risks of corruption in relief efforts, according to a report published today. The report, Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance, documents perceptions of corruption in humanitarian operations through interviews with staff of several leading international humanitarian NGOs who have partnered with Transparency International (TI) to better address corruption risks. 

The report finds that many humanitarian agencies providing vital relief are aware of corruption risks and have developed a range of policies and practices to prevent it. Whistleblower policies, codes of conduct for staff, and financial controls are just some of the measures participating organizations have already put into place. 

However, the humanitarian community at large has not yet addressed this problem in a comprehensive manner. Humanitarian aid providers would benefit from wider and more systematic exchange on new approaches and best practices, including evaluating their effectiveness in mitigating corruption, according to the report, a joint publication of Tufts University, the Overseas Development Institute and TI. 

The stakes are high, particularly for those in dire need of life-saving aid. Humanitarian budgets have nearly doubled since the beginning of the decade and now account for up to 14 per cent of official development assistance, reaching more than US $10 billion in 2006. “Considering the impact of corruption on the most vulnerable aid recipients, as well as the magnitude of disaster and post-conflict relief efforts costing millions, detecting and preventing corruption in relief processes is an urgent priority,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair, Transparency International. 

Perceptions of what constitutes corruption vary, according to the report, and are often limited to financial mismanagement and fraud; nepotism/cronyism, sexual exploitation and diversion of aid resources to non-target groups are less often considered forms of corruption. “The corruption challenges faced are significant, complex and can arise in developed and developing countries, with potentially disastrous and long-term effects on humanitarian missions,” said Roslyn Hees, Senior Advisor at TI. 

Integrating corruption risk and political environment analysis into emergency preparedness would help anticipate problems. On-site monitoring is also critical to deterring and detecting corruption, but may be constrained by limited staff or financial resources. 

Some humanitarian staff, the report found, view corruption controls as a factor that slows down the rapid aid delivery essential for saving lives, especially in the acute initial stage of an emergency. But agencies increasingly see that improving the ability to handle a sudden surge in aid –including putting in place corruption prevention measures from the beginning- is essential for long-term effectiveness. 

Recent initiatives to increase accountability to aid recipients can empower beneficiaries to report corruption, but local power structures and cultural inhibitions may also inhibit the effectiveness of this strategy. 

Joint policies and strategies would allow humanitarian agencies to better address endemic corruption in emergency environments as well as corruption risks inherent in relief operations. 

With this report, Transparency International (TI) presents a set of recommendations to increase transparency and accountability in humanitarian relief, involving financial and non-financial aspects of practice and policies. A handbook containing good practices to support humanitarian agencies in their efforts to curb corruption will be published in early 2009.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shri Paswan urges steel industry to support government in managing inflation IMPLEMENT CAPACITY EXPANSION IN A TIME BOUND MANNER

The Minister for Steel, Chemicals and Fertilisers Shri Ram Vilas Paswan today urged the steel industry to continue to support the effort of the government in managing the inflationary trend in the country. Delivering inaugural address of the “India Steel Conclave” here today, the Minister said that government does not want the industry to suffer and is concerned about the rise in the cost of the raw materials. He urged the industry to ensure that the profit levels are not disproportionate to the rise in cost of production. Shri Paswan said a fine balance has to be ensured between the consumers interest and the interest of the industry. 

The Minister said, the Indian Steel Industry is on way to emerge as the 3rd largest in the world by 2015 and emphasized the need to implement all expansion programmes in a time bound manner. He said the Ministry is closely monitoring the major steel investment projects for which an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) has been functioning under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Steel since last year. The progress of public sector steel units are also being closely monitored. By the year 2012, it is estimated that India would have a steel production capacity of 124 million tonnes from the current level of 59 million tonnes. Taking into account the investments in pipeline Indian steel production capacity would be nearly 300 million tonnes by the year 2020. 

The Minister said, such a massive investment in the steel sector will involve a number of issues to be sorted out. Steel is a highly capital intensive industry which depends upon allocation of raw material resources, land, water, environmental & forest clearances as sell as development of huge infrastructure. A part of the issues have to be looked into by the State Governments concerned. Shri Paswan said, in some of the States 

even the Rehabilitation and Settlement (R&R) Policy was not framed. Land Acquisition and forest clearances are the two major bottleneck being faced by most of the greenfield steel projects. There is also the issue of delay in iron ore mining lease to major steel producers. 

He said, steel industry and the associated mining activities are usually located in relatively underdeveloped regions of the country, dominated by underprivileged and tribal population. The industry has a responsibility for looking after the needs of the local population and act as a facilitator for social development. Shri Paswan said, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) assumes a significant role in this area. All profitable PSUs under the steel Ministry have made commitments to the cause of CSR and have earmarked at least 2 per cent of their distributable surplus for CSR activities. He said, we have also asked the main producers to adopt villages around their plant locations as a part of the CSR activities. 

Speaking at the inaugural session, Secretary, Ministry of Steel, Shri R.S. Pandey said the Government has taken several steps to help reduce the cost of production. He said excise duty has been slashed by 2 per cent in the Union Budget, import duty on scrap has been removed and 15 per cent ad veloram duty has been imposed on the export of iron ore. Besides this, 44 per cent of the steel produced is from captive mines where the cost of iron ore as a proportion of the cost of production is only 5 per cent compared to over 30 per cent for those depending upon spot market for their requirement of iron ore. 

Shri Pandey said the Government and the industry will have to find a way out of the price situation. Industry has to decide a point of balance between the need of the consumers and their price expectation. He was very emphatic that the country will reach the production target of 120 million tonnes in the next four years. He said the first and the foremost task is to expedite the expansion of steel capacity.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rio Tinto :Second quarter 2008 operations review

Commenting on the second quarter’s production results, chief executive Tom Albanese said: "These strong results show that we are continuing to expand to meet rapid demand growth in the developing world. We have set quarterly production records for iron ore, mined copper and alumina, thanks to increasing investment in growth projects and a management commitment to deliver more tonnes faster, while maintaining our focus on safety and costs. 

“The integration of Alcan is proceeding to plan and the business continues to perform well. I am particularly pleased to see how swiftly our Australian coal operations recovered from the first quarter floods. 

“Chinese GDP is continuing to grow at around ten per cent per annum, demand is strong while supply remains constrained. Fundamentals, not financial speculation, are driving the record prices we are realising across aluminium, copper, iron ore and coal and we see the same trends continuing into the future.”  

• Record quarterly global production of iron ore, up 13 per cent on the second quarter of 2007, recovering some of the shortfall from the cyclones in the first quarter. 

• Record quarterly iron ore production of 48 million tonnes in Australia, up 14 per cent (on a 100 per cent basis) compared with the second quarter of 2007, as the iron ore operations continue to expand their capacity. 

• Weighted average iron ore price increase of 85.7 per cent negotiated with Asian customers for 2008 contract shipments from the Pilbara. 

• Record quarterly mined copper production (for existing operations), up 15 per cent on the corresponding quarter of 2007. 

• Rio Tinto Alcan continues to perform well with bauxite production up 100 per cent, alumina up by 231 per cent and aluminium up by 374 per cent, compared with the second quarter of 2007, reflecting the acquisition of Alcan in the fourth quarter of 2007. On a proforma basis the respective increases for bauxite, alumina and aluminium were 11 per cent, nine per cent and one per cent. 

• The Sohar aluminium smelter in Oman began operating in June, on time and on budget, with first hot metal produced during the same month. 

• Australian thermal and coking coal production were up by 15 per cent and 25 per cent on the second quarter of 2007, recovering well from the heavy rainfall experienced in the first quarter. 

• Strong performance from the minerals businesses with borates production up 18 per cent and titanium dioxide feedstocks ten per cent higher than the second quarter of 2007. 

• Agreement signed to sell the Kintyre uranium property in Western Australia for $495 million, as part of the Group’s overall $15 billion divestment target.

All currency figures in this report are US dollars, and comments refer to Rio Tinto’s share, unless otherwise stated 


Mr. Eric Ripper, Deputy Premier of Western Australia(W.A.) met Shri Murli Deora, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, here today. They emphasized the need for taking forward the existing cooperation between India and Western Australia, in the oil & gas sector. They felt that there is a large potential for cooperation in various activities especially in exploration & production, coal bed methane, LNG, etc.

On this occasion, an MoU was signed between Directorate General of Hydrocarbons(DGH) of India and Department of Industry & Resources(DOIR) of W.A. The MoU was signed by Mr. Stedman Illias, Deputy DG, DOIR and Shri V.K. Sibal, DG, DGH, a technical arm of the M/o Petroleum & Natural Gas in the upstream sector. The two leaders described the MoU signed today as a significant beginning in the cooperation between India and Western Australia.

The MoU aims at enhancing cooperation and understanding on oil and gas related issues and exchange information and pass on good practices in the development of policy on oil and gas exploration, production and field abandonment, exchange of expertise etc. The MoU also identifies broad areas of cooperation. These include aquifer depletion specific to the oil and gas sector, enhanced oil recovery, coal bed methane gas, education and training, joint research and development and any other areas that are mutually agreed upon by both parties.

The two sides will seek to approve a programme of cooperation each year or such other jointly decided time period. The MoU is valid for a period of 5 years and may be further extended with mutual consent.

Survey: 85 percent of reported bribes in China requested by government workers

SHANGHAI, China: Government workers in China requested 85 percent of bribes in the country that were reported to an international Web site that tracks corruption, a U.S.-based anti-corruption group said Tuesday.

BRIBEline's first country-specific report outside the U.S. focuses on China, where 6 percent of the almost 150 bribe requests reported were for amounts of more than US$500,000.

Corruption is a huge but sensitive issue in China, especially in Shanghai, where the city's former Communist Party boss was sentenced in April to 18 years in prison for his role in a wide-ranging pension fund scandal.

The Chinese government has announced several public anti-corruption campaigns in recent years.

Calls to the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention were not answered Tuesday.

BRIBEline — the Business Registry for International Bribery and Extortion — was set up in 2007 by TRACE International, a nonprofit membership association that helps companies combat bribery. It has the support of the World Bank and other groups, including retail giant Wal-Mart.

The BRIBEline report on China was based on 148 reports made to the BRIBEline Web site in the year between the site's launch and June 30. The number was smaller than expected, but almost as many reports have come in since June 30 as BRIBEline gets more well-known, TRACE founder Alexandra Wrage said.

The Web site, available in English, Chinese and other major languages, allows people to anonymously report bribe requests made of them and describe the country, the person asking for the bribe, the amount and the general circumstances involved.

The site doesn't ask if the bribe requests — more than half of them between US$101 (690 yuan) and US$5,000 (34,000 yuan) — were paid.

Of the reported bribe requests in the China report, 11 percent were made by police officers and 11 percent were made by a member of the judiciary, the BRIBEline report said. Government officials made up another 38 percent.

"I find it a little distressing that the police and judiciary are near the top in almost every country," Wrage said.

She said she hoped to be able to discuss the report with Chinese officials.

The China results were announced Tuesday on the sidelines of what's being called the first-ever China Summit on Anti-Corruption.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Blue Star bags Rs 104 crore order from Delhi Metro Rail 

Blue Star has been awarded an order valued at Rs.104 crore by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) for total airconditioning works of 7 metro stations.

Blue Star will provide airconditioning solutions to 7 underground stations namely Hauz Khas, Malviya Nagar, Saket, Central Secretariat, Khan Market, JLN Stadium and Jungpura, and associated tunnel sections on Central Secretariat to Badarpur Corridor of Phase-II of Delhi MRTS Project.

Blue Star’s expertise and competence in project execution and on-time delivery coupled with the positive experience that DMRC had on previous projects, helped the Company win this landmark order. 

Blue Star has successfully executed several airconditioning projects for DMRC, including the underground portion of the Delhi Metro from Delhi Main Station to New Delhi Railway Station. Blue Star had airconditioned the concourse, platform, control room and backup areas for 3 underground stations namely; Delhi Main, Chawri Bazar and New Delhi. Blue Star also undertook the recent Environmental Control System work for the underground station at GTB Nagar. 

Blue Star’s scope of work for the underground stations include supply and installation of airconditioning systems of 7260 TR comprising of chillers, cooling towers, air handling units, fan coil units, indoor units, ducting, piping and grilles amongst others. The project is scheduled to be completed by January 2011.