Tata Steel has tested samples of coking coal from Russia to make steel via the blast furnace route, TV chief executive and general manager Narendran said. This development is of significance in the domestic steel industry because a successful outcome of the experiment would break Australia’s monopoly in the supply of coking coal to India.
According to official data, the country imports around 56 million tonnes (MT) of coking coal worth around Rs 72,000 crore. Of this total, around 45 tonnes are imported from the continent alone.
“We imported coking coal from Russia. The east coast of Russia is a good source,” Narendran told PTI.
The CEO said this when responding to a question regarding the company’s contribution to the continuing efforts of the Steel Ministry to reduce India’s dependence on certain countries for the supply of coking coal. .
Earlier, the ministry had asked steelmakers to source coking coal from Russia and test the raw material in their factories and take stock of the outcome.
Coking coal is a key raw material used in the manufacture of steel by blast furnace, in addition to iron ore.
“We support the government’s initiative to view Russia as a source (of coking coal). This is a good option for us, otherwise we are too dependent on Australia,” he said.
He added that Australia also often had problems with cyclones and weather conditions. “For many reasons it is good for us to have more than one option. We have explored and tried certain materials.”
Tata Steel produces steel using blast furnaces at its 11 MTPA (million tonnes per year) plant in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, and 3-MTPA’s plant at Kalinganagar in Odisha.
When contacted for details of the experience, a spokesperson for Tata Steel said: “There is no information available at this time on this.”
Previously, the Chairman of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) AK Chaudhary also said similar initiatives are being undertaken by the state steel maker.
In an interview with PTI, he said that domestic steelmakers rely heavily on imported coking coal.
The company is looking for new destinations and new suppliers to source coking coal from the international market to avoid relying on limited sources, Chaudhary said.
Besides Australia, some of the demand for coking coal also comes from South Africa, Canada and the United States.