Even as the Indian government grapples with the complexities of the civilian nuclear deal with the US, the cabinet is all set to approve the mining of titanium bearing minerals, officials said.
The proposal is to permit, with prior government permission, up to 100 percent foreign equity in mining and mineral separation of titanium bearing minerals and ores, value addition and certain
But such permission will be subject to sector-specific regulations (as also the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957) in the present policy on foreign direct
investment in atomic minerals, officials said.
The commerce and industry ministry's proposal after through consultations has been pending for sometime now and came up for review in May this year. Now it will feature as part of an overarching
policy to review foreign investment across multiple sectors, officials explained.
India has one sixth of ilmenite (titanium bearing mineral or ore) and most of it is concentrated in Tamil Nadu, along the south eastern coast from Cuddalore to Vedaranyam.
Titanium is unique because of its high strength-to-weight ratio. While it is as strong as steel, it is also 45 percent lighter.
Analysts reckon that titanium can be used as a catalyst in the crucial first phase to trap hydrogen with a particular class of hydrogen storage materials. It is also very popular in the aerospace
The present policy is governed by the Beach and Sand Minerals Policy of the Department of Atomic Energy since ilmenite was included as an atomic mineral. Given the furore over iron ore reserves
being handed over to South Korean steel giant Posco in the past, the government is taking adequate measures for titanium mining.
Officials said foreign investment of up to 100 percent will also be allowed for mineral separation, but only if the value addition facilities are set up within India along with the necessary
Even more vitally, disposal of tailings shall be carried out in accordance with regulations framed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board such as Atomic Energy Radiation Protection Rules 2004 and
Atomic Energy Safe Disposal of Radioactive Wastes Rules 1987. Ц Webindia123
Kobe Steel, Ltd. inaugurated a new 3.5-billion-yen titanium melt shop today at its Takasago Works in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan. After undergoing trial
operation, the melt shop will go into full production in January 2008.
The melt shop uses the company's proprietary Kobe Method (a vacuum arc remelting method), which makes possible the use of titanium scrap. Kobe Steel aims to
make the new facility the most cost competitive melt shop in Japan. The new melt shop is located adjacent to the current melt shop to stabilize production and improve the operational efficiency of both shops. Kobe Steel aims to steadily grow its business to
effectively respond to the expanding demand for titanium mill products.
Since 2006, Kobe Steel has been increasing its overall integrated production capacity of titanium mill products. The inauguration of the new melt shop
completes a series of capital investments that covers all of Kobe Steel's locations involved in titanium production: Takasago Works, Kakogawa Works and Kobe Special Tube Co., Ltd.
The other projects consisted of upgrading the counterblow hammer for closed die forging at Takasago and constructing a new welded tube line at group company
Kobe Special Tube Co., Ltd. in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Both projects were completed in May 2007. Completed in 2006 was the expansion of the continuous annealing-pickling line for titanium sheet at Kakogawa Works in Hyogo Prefecture.
The higher capacity enables Kobe Steel to manufacture more titanium alloy forgings for next-generation aircraft engines and meet the growing demand in China
and the Middle East for commercially pure titanium products used in infrastructure projects. Japan's titanium industry has been undergoing strong growth in recent years, and in the current fiscal 2007 (ending March 2008), production and shipments of titanium
mill products are anticipated to be robust. Not only for Japanese manufacturers, this trend is similar worldwide. Bolstered by rising aircraft orders and growing demand from the energy industries, demand for titanium products is brisk.
Kobe Steel pioneered Japan's titanium industry when in 1949 it became the first company to begin research and development of this material. With over a
half century of experience, Kobe Steel is Japan's only integrated producer of titanium mill products with operations ranging from melting to mill product manufacturing. The company contributes to the development of industry by supplying a wide variety of
titanium mill products.
Other Capital Investments
Downstream capital investments
1. Upgrade of the counterblow hammer for closed die forging at Takasago Works
Location: Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture
Start-up: May 2007
Investment: Computer control and stabilization of hammer blow energy
Japan's largest counterblow hammer is used to manufacture closed die forgings for jet engine disks. Supporting the growing aircraft business of Japan's heavy
industry manufacturers, Kobe Steel is meeting the need for value-added titanium alloy forged products used in aircraft engine disks and other applications.
2. Higher production capacity of continuous annealing-pickling line at KakogawaWorks
Location: Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture
Production capacity: 30% increase in throughput
Start-up: December 2006 (already in operation)
This dedicated continuous annealing-pickling line for titanium sheet is the only one of its type in the world. The hot and cold strip mills, located adjacent
and used in steel production, also roll titanium sheet. The proximity to the strip mills contributes to maintaining and improving the integrated quality assurance system for titanium sheet products.
3. New titanium welded tube line at Kobe Special Tube Co., Ltd.
Location: Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Production capacity: 30% increase
Start-up: May 2007
The new dedicated line at Japan's largest titanium welded tube plant will help meet demand from power plants in China, seawater desalination plants in the
Middle East, and other applications. In addition to the higher production capacity, the layout was improved, which further increased productivity.
About Kobe Steel, Ltd.
Kobe Steel is one of Japan's top manufacturers of aluminium and copper products. It is also a leading steelmaker in Japan. Other businesses include welding
consumables, industrial machinery, engineering, construction equipment, and electronic materials. Ц Press Release