MOIL, part of the Central Government’s Miniratna Group and formerly the Manganese Ore (India) has been asked to look at contributing Manganese for use in batteries of electric vehicles (EV) and Tungsten for Defence Manufacturing.
In a mid-year review meeting the Steel Minister Birender Singh said that MOIL must make significant contribution towards ‘Make in India’ initiative by developing technology to meet Manganese requirement of batteries to be used in EVs.
He also asked PSUs to plan for building capacities in tungsten mining and production for strengthening manufacturing capabilities for defence production in India.
In a statement at the meeting, Singh said, “MOIL should strategically plan for forward integration to leverage its leadership position of Manganese Ore production in India. The company can think of acquiring or taking majority stake in ferro-alloy production facilities, in addition to expansion efforts. There is huge potential for e-rickshaws, e-tempos and e-cars in India, which MOIL must be prepared for harnessing. In fact, the company should innovate to find new uses of Manganese Ore, apart from steel making, dry cell batteries and paints. R&D efforts should aim for development of new technologies rather than updating or buying technologies from others. The company need to work on utilising every grade of ore gainfully including the lowest quality ore.”
He said that the Steel Ministry will support the R&D initiatives aimed at self-sufficiency and indigenisation. As well as a need to focus on mineral exploration activities for speeding up the strengthening of the resource base in India.
He suggested that MOIL could also examine the feasibility of using alternate modes of ore transportation that would be environment friendly and cost effective. For closure of mines, sand requirement can be met by innovative means like collaboration with local farmers. In view of increase in requirement for manganese for steel production capacities around 300 million tonnes and insufficient availability of the ore in India, MOIL must also explore the possibility of acquiring or taking stake in manganese ore assets abroad.