The fluctuating price of imported coking coal is making Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) bleed, as the company has to pay heavily for importing good quality coking coal for its steel plants.
SAIL is desperate in finding alternative solution to reduce its coking coal import. In order to find a solution SAIL’s Colliery Division in collaboration with CSIR-Central Institute of Mining & Fuel Research, Dhanbad has organised a workshop for “Augmentation of Indigenous Coking Coal Supply in Steel Industries” at Kolkata on Sunday.
SAIL’s Director (Raw Materials & Logistic), Kalyan Maity, and Director, CSIR-CIMFR Dr. P K Singh, took initiative to bring in the industry experts to address the burning issue of optimising the use of domestic coking coal resources for steel industry.
India has to heavily depend on import of coking coal, as the domestic quality has higher ash content and not suitable for steel industry with present technology. Country’s present coking coal production is around 50 mt. out of which only 4 mt is being used by the steel industry, and the major chunk goes to thermal plants. With the 6% growth assumption, India is expected to produce 111 million tonne of steel by 2020. Accordingly the import demand of coking coal is expected to go up to 75 million tonne form the 44.7 mt in 2014-15, as presented by metal junction in the workshop. The Forex outgo will increase to $ 6.9 billion from $3.5 billion for the import.
Country’s make in India dream can be achieved, if the domestic production is increased to meet the quality demand of the steel plant. Therefore, raw materials value optimisation is essential through which indigenous coking coal can be used in steel industry. For which the Blast Furnace technology has to be changed. Apart from that, the coal wahsery needs to be improved, as the most of the coal washeries are out dated and running with very low capacity utilisation.
Experts in the workshop pointed out that setting up new washery, reorganising the procurement mix, steel producers’ joint negotiation with foreign suppliers, and acquisition of coking coal mines will improve the situation. Japan is the highest importer of coking coal. But the country secures a strong bargaining power for import by forming a group of steel producers for joint negotiation.