The plant is located at Jamshedpur at the confluence of the Subarnarekha and the Kharkai rivers about 240 km north-west of Kolkata along the Kolkata-Nagpur rail-line in Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.
It is the second largest and the only private sector steel plant in the country. The plant was built up by the famous industrialist J.N. Tata in 1907 where the production of pig iron was started in 1908 and of steel in 1911.
Jamshedpur is most ideally located in respect of iron ore, fuel and flux supplies. It obtains the supply of iron ore from the captive mines at Gurumahisani, Badampahar (Mayurbhanj district), and Noamundi (Singhbhum district) mines at a distance of 72.5 km to 96.6 km.; coking coal from Jharia, Sijya, Jamdoba and West Bokaro coal fields at a distance of about 177 km; limestone from Birmitrapur, Hathibari and Baraduar; manganese from the captive mines at Joda (Keonjhar district) and Madhya Pradesh; dolomite from Pasposh (Gangpur); fireclay from Belapahar (Sundargarh district); fresh water from the Subarnarekha and Kharkai rivers; port facilities from Kolkata port; and cheap labour from the densely populated areas of the Ganga valley mostly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
The plant annually needs 27.45 lakh tones of iron ore, 24.45 lakh tones of coal, 5 lakh tones of limestone, 2.62 lakh tones of dolomite, 90,000 tones of manganese and ferro-manganese, and 40,000 tones of quartzite.
The plant initially had capacity of producing 1.21 million tones of pig iron and 1.1 million tons of steel per annum. This capacity has been enhanced to 1.9 million tones of pig iron, 2 million tones of ingot steel and 3 million tones of saleable steel.
The plant has basic open hearth furnaces, acid Bessemer conveners and basic tilting open hearth furnaces for the manufacture of pig iron and steel. With the help of electric furnaces it is making high grade carbon steel which is used for structural fittings and tin plates. Besides, it also produces acid steel for making railway wheels, tires and axles, bars, rods, sheets, corrugated sheets, wires, steel castings, nails, nuts, bolts and tinplates. Special alloy steel produced by the plant is used for making bullet-proof armor plates and for armor-piercing bullets. The plant has been working between 85 and 90 per cent of its rated capacity. In 1997-98 it produced 3.01 million tones of saleable steel (110 per cent of its installed capacity).