Australia eyes joint ventures in TN, Pondicherry

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 19 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu is keen on technology transfers to exploit its rich mineral resources, Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalitha told a visiting trade delegation from Australia, officials said.

On its part, "West Australia has the necessary expertise to collaborate with the Tamil Nadu government in areas like mines and minerals, bio-technology, information technology and agro-industries," said Clive Brown, the state's minister for development, tourism, small business, at a seminar here.

Brown is leading a trade delegation from West Australia that is visiting Tamil Nadu and the federally administered territory of Pondicherry to explore new joint ventures.

The team met Jayalalitha at the state secretariat here Tuesday.

The chief minister told the delegation there already were several joint ventures between Australian and Tamil Nadu firms, including one at Chennai port.

Tamil Nadu has huge reserves of lignite (24.5 billion tonnes), magnesite (52 billion tonnes) and limestone (144 million tonnes). This apart, the state is home to huge reserves of oil and natural gas in the Cuddalore and Thanjavur districts of the Cauvery delta, Jayalalitha pointed out.

Besides, minerals like thorium, silica, garnet and granite were also found in abundance on the east coast.

"Australia's superiority in technology would be welcome" in exploiting Tamil Nadu's mineral resources, Jayalalitha told the delegation.

She also sought technical help from Australia for ground water surveys to get over the state's perennial shortage of water for drinking and irrigation.

In Pondicherry, an Australian company that is part of the delegation has already signed a memorandum of understanding with construction giant Larsen & Toubro to establish a $25 million plant to manufacture steel frames and other requirements of the building industry.

"It is a 50:50 JV, with an initial investment of $3 million. All material will be imported at first. Later on, the sourcing will be from within India", Terry Opel, CEO of JV International, said.

The JV will cater to the Indian market as well as exports. It hopes to annually manufacture 100,000 steel frames, doors and other structures for low-cost housing.

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