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Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh on Thursday said the ministry is hoping to replace 25-30 per cent of coking coal required for producing steel by converting thermal coal into coking coal.
The move is expected to reduce the import cost of coking coal.
"The replacement of raw material (coking coal) which is being procured from Australia is important. We have asked Coal India and Coal Ministry that there should be washeries at the pit heads of the mining areas," Birender Singh said here.
"If we are able to wash this coal -- called thermal coal, we would be converting this coal as a replacement of coking coal. By that effort, we are hoping 25-30 per cent of coking coal can be replaced," he added.
He also said there has been a focus on pelletisation of iron ore fines to reduce the imports cost.
"We have asked steel producing PSUs for using that (pellets of iron ore fines)," he said on the sidelines of the unveiling of foundation stone and model of corporate building of MSTC Ltd, a mini-ratna Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Steel.
Pelletisation enables converting iron ore fines into uniform sized pellets that can be charged into the blast furnaces or for production of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI).
The Union Cabinet last month gave its approval to the National Steel Policy, 2017, which projects crude steel capacity of 300 million tonnes (mt), production of 255 million tonnes and a robust finished steel per capita utilisation of 158 kg by 2030-31, as against the current utilisation of 61 kg.
According to the policy, the 300 mt of steel-making capacity would translate into additional investment of Rs 10 lakh crore by 2030-31.
The policy also envisages domestically meeting the entire demand of high grade automotive steel, electrical steel, special steels and alloys for strategic applications and increase domestic availability of washed coking coal so as to reduce import dependence on coking coal from about 85 per cent to around 65 per cent by 2030-31.
Birender Singh said the consumption is expected to increase with the spending on infrastructure, and the housing for all project would also boost the domestic steel consumption.
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