Hyderabad, Dec 8 (PTI): Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said today that the joint venture (JV) between steel giants SAIL and ArcelorMittal to produce high-end automotive steel will be signed soon.

“They (ArcelorMittal) have the technology and they are keen to have a JV with SAIL. That is at a stage where things would click within few days or within one or two weeks time.

The JV is yet to be signed but I can say 99 per cent of the formalities have been completed,” the minister told reporters here.

Singh said that there are two offers which have come from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh governments for the site of the plant.

“Keeping in view the Eastern Coast (Andhra Pradesh) it has been thought that this (Andhra Pradesh) would be a better site to set up this JV plant,” he said.

The minister said that in the next 3-4 years, India would be a hub for car manufacturing and that it is estimated that the country would manufacture about 28 per cent of the total cars manufactured in the world.

The proposed auto-grade steel plant, with a capacity of 1.5 million tonne per annum, which can be scaled up to 2.5 MT, is Rs 15,000 crore project, Singh said.

SAIL and ArcelorMittal had entered into an MoU in May 2015 to explore the possibility of setting up an auto-grade steel manufacturing facility under a joint venture in India.

Singh further said that a new pay scale for employees of state-run miner National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) will be announced tomorrow after a review meeting.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.