Crucial issues relating to a technology to reduce use of coking coal in steel making, water ways as a mode of transport and above all the need for the Steel Ministry to be taken on board on matters relating to mines-pricing were discussed by experts from across Asia here on Wednesday.
The 7th Asia Steel Conference organised by Indian Institute of Metals and Tata Steel kick-started with a session addressed by union steel secretary Ms Aruna Sharma. The target of achieving 300 million tonne per annum steel capacity in the country make Odisha a key state given its huge mineral resource base, she said. Expansion of existing capacity and new steel mills are coming up.
The fact that India is a low infrastructure country with barely 67 kg per capita consumption leads to the immense potential for growth, she said. Use of steel in infrastructure as it is a low maintenance, long-lasting metal should be encouraged. All drinking water pipelines in Tokyo and Seoul are of steel, she noted. The growth in production as well as consumption apart one has to focus on collaborative efforts amongst Asian giants to introduce technology which will reduce usage of coking coal, work on thermal coal to methanol to gas etc.
The thrust as we increase capacity ought to be on collaborative efforts to produce clean-green-steel. The environment watch dogs need to be educated on how environment-friendly steel making can be. A holistic approach with the Steel Ministry having a say in mines and related matters. Even ore linkage and necessary amendment to MMDR Act to facilitate the same and also pricing were discussed.
Inaugurating the Conference, CM Naveen Patnaik said Odisha is producing about half of the country’s iron ore. He invited the industrialists to participate in the auction of mines, four of which will be ready soon. The CM pointed out that from the installed capacity of about 4 mtpa steel in 1999- 2000, Odisha now has 47 steel industries with the total capacity of over 33 mtpa which is about one fourth of the country’s total installed capacity. The pellet plants in the State have an installed capacity of about 29 million tons per annum.
Odisha became the first State in the country to integrate industrial approvals with the e-BIZ platform. A National Investment and Manufacturing Zone is being developed at Kalinganagar, spread over 160 square km, he said. Asia Steel International Conference Chairman and president TQM, Tata Steel, Anand Sen, president of Indian Institute of Metals Dr Biswajit Basu, Dr Hideki Murakami, Executive Officer, Head of Process Research Laboratories, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Japan addressed the gathering.