Strategic Initiatives by Coal Ministry increase Availability of Domestic Coking Coal for Steel Production, Reduce Imports

Source: The post is based on the article Strategic Initiatives by Coal Ministry increase Availability of Domestic Coking Coal for Steel Production, Reduce Imports published in PIB on 29th August 2023

What is the News?

The Ministry of Steel and the Ministry of Coal are taking up collaborative efforts to enhance domestic Coking Coal availability and minimize import reliance. 

What is Coking Coal and why is it imported?

Coking coal also known as metallurgical coal is mainly used in manufacturing of steel through blast furnace route. 

Domestic coking coal is high ash coal (mostly between 18% – 49%) and is not suitable for direct use in the blast furnace.

Therefore, coking coal is washed to reduce the ash percentage and is blended with imported coking coal (<9% ash) before utilization in the blast furnace. 

About 50 MT coking coal is imported by the country on an annual basis and the value of coking coal imported in FY 2020-21 was Rs. 45435 crore. 

Thus, increasing the supply of domestic coking coal would not only help in reducing the coking coal imports but also help in saving the forex and fortifying our foreign exchange reserves.

What is Mission Coking Coal?

Government of India has launched ‘Mission Coking Coal’ in August, 2021 to suggest a roadmap to augment the production and utilization of domestic coking coal in India by 2030.

The mission envisions significantly reducing Coking Coal imports through a transformative measures under the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiative. 

These measures encompass exploration, enhanced production, technological adoption, private sector involvement in coking coal blocks, establishment of new washeries, increased R&D activities, and quality enhancement.

What are the measures taken to increase production of Coking Coal?

Auction of Coking Coal Blocks: The Ministry of Coal achieved a significant milestone with the allocation of 16 Coking Coal Blocks.Out of which, 4 blocks were auctioned in 2022-23.This effort is projected to contribute a substantial 1.54 MT to Coking Coal production.

Revitalizing Abandoned Mines: Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) has opened new avenues by inviting agencies and companies to undertake Coking Coal extraction from abandoned or discontinued BCCL-owned mines.

Strategic Collaboration with SAIL: Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and BCCL have signed an MoU for supply of 1.8 MT of washed Coking Coal to increase the availability of Coking Coal.

Innovative Greenfield Washeries: The Ministry of Coal encourages the establishment of greenfield washeries or refurbishment of existing BCCL washeries to increase Coking Coal availability. 

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