India’s Tata Steel taps into Australia’s critical mineral resources to increase production

This new business collaboration by the world's number ten steel manufacturer has the potential to deliver benefits to both Australia and India.

India’s Tata Steel has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Western Australia-based advanced vanadium developer Technology Metals Australia Limited.

Tata Steel has a consolidated turnover of US$33 billion and ranks as the 10th largest steel producer in the world with an annual crude steel production capacity of 34Mtpa.

This non-binding MoU establishes a framework for discussions regarding the offtake of vanadium pentoxide and other downstream vanadium products. Vanadium is used in the steel industry where it is primarily used in metal alloys such as rebar and structural steel, aircraft, and automotive.

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Image source: Tata Steel’s Vice President of Group Strategic Procurement Rajiv Mukerji

Tata Steel’s Vice President Group Strategic Procurement, Rajiv Mukerji, said in a statement:

“Vanadium is a key component in Tata Steel’s steelmaking process to increase strength and reduce weight, and as our customers increasingly look to reduce their carbon emissions, we anticipate demand for these products to grow.”

At present, TMT is progressing with the development of the Murchison Technology Metals Project (MTMP) in Western Australia to produce high-purity vanadium pentoxide (V2O5).

Located 50 km south of Meekatharra, TMT’s MTMP includes the Gabanintha and Yarrabubba vanadium deposits and is one of the highest-grade vanadium projects in the world.

Image source: TMT’s Managing Director Ian Prentice

TMT’s Managing Director, Ian Prentice, added:

“TMT is very excited to be partnering with Tata Steel, one of the world’s largest steelmakers, as well as furthering Australia’s important trade relationship with India. High purity vanadium pentoxide from the MTMP is important in producing lower emission ferrovanadium and vanadium nitride, which Tata Steel utilises in its steelmaking process.”

The execution of the present MoU was accelerated by July’s Invest and Trade WA mission to India.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism Roger Cook MLA with trade and investment delegation (LinkedIn)

This mission was led by State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook and International Education Minister David Templeman.

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Western Australia’s Premier and State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Hon. Roger Cook said in a statement congratulated both companies for entering into this MOU. He observed that this has the potential to deliver benefits both Western Australia and India.

Hon. Roger Cook (LinkedIn)

Hon. Cook said:

“It is a prime example of how our recent mission to India has opened doors, leading to greater investment and collaboration between WA and India. This successful mission was the biggest ever to leave WA shores with an extensive program of government and corporate meetings, industry briefings, roundtables and one-to-one business matching.”

Under the latest MoU, both Tata Steel and TMT will investigate downstream technical collaboration with the scope for joint development of ferrovanadium production facilities in Western Australia and India. Further discussions will also include potential investment by Tata Steel into Technology Metals Australia and/or the Murchison Technology Metals Project.

Tata Steel is also ramping up purchases of Australian coal after halting imports from Russia in the wake of the Ukraine war. The company is planning to increase its Indian capacity to 40 million tonnes a year by 2030 by investing US$1.2 billion to $1.5 billion annually. The company also aims to be able to produce a global total of 55 million tonnes of steel annually by 2030.