Tata Steel has tested samples of coking coal from Russia to make steel through the blast furnace route, said TV Narendran, managing director and chief executive officer. Development has been given importance in the domestic steel industry as the experiment will break Australia’s monopoly in coking supplies to India.
According to official figures, the country imports 56 million tonnes (mt) of coking coal worth about Rs 72,000 crore. Of this, about 45 metric tons are imported from the continent country alone.
“We have imported some coking coal from Russia. Russia’s east coast is a good source,” Mr. Narendran told PTI.
The CEO said this while answering a question related to the company’s contribution to the Ministry of Steel to reduce India’s dependence on select countries for sourcing coking coal.
Earlier, the ministry asked steel makers to get coking coal from Russia and test the raw materials at their plants and update on the same.
Coking coal is a major raw material used to make steel using the blast furnace route, in addition to iron ore.
“We support the government’s initiative to see Russia as a source (coking coal). This is a good option for us, otherwise we depend on Australia.”
He said that there are frequent cyclones and weather problems in Australia as well. “For many reasons, it is good for us to have more than one option. We have discovered some materials and tried them out.”
Tata Steel produces steel using blast furnaces at its 11-MTPA (million tonnes per annum) plant in Jamshedpur in Jharkhand and 3-MTPA plant in Kalinganagar, Odisha.
When contacted for details regarding the experiment, a Tata Steel spokesperson said, “There is no information available at the moment.”
Earlier, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) Chairman AK Chaudhary also said that similar initiatives are being taken by the state-owned steel manufacturer.
In an interview with PTI, he had said that domestic steel makers are heavily dependent on imported coking coal.
Mr. Chaudhary said that the company is looking for new sources and vendors for sourcing coking coal from the international market to avoid reliance on limited sources.
Apart from Australia, South Africa, Canada and the US also get a share of the demand for coking coal.