SAIL on the Lookout for New Markets to source Coking Coal

Industry major Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is on the hunt for new markets to source coking coal – a key ingredient in the steel manufacturing process. The move has been necessitated to reduce the import dependency of coking coal from a select group of countries, chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary said.

Out of the Rs 72,000 crores of net imports for coking coal, around 80% is imported from Australia alone, with the rest coming from the triad of South Africa, Canada and the United States. “Domestic steelmakers depend heavily on imported coking coal. For SAIL as well metallurgical coal (coking coal) is largely procured through imports apart from some domestic sourcing. We are looking at developing new destinations and vendors for sourcing coking coal from the international market to avoid dependence on limited sources,” the SAIL chairman said in an interview.

In an audit, the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General had red-flagged SAIL’s over-dependence of imported coal. During FY2019-20, SAIL produced nearly 29.28 MT of iron ore. The organisation, which comes under the ambit of the Ministry of Steel, has around five integrated steel plants and a network of captive mines spread across the mineral base of India. This includes Jharkhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh and West Bengal.

SAIL is also a part of a joint venture titled the International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL), that has an aim to acquire mining assets abroad. ICVL has already acquired coal mines in Mozambique to the tune of 500 MT. Chaudhary mentioned that mining activities from overseas assets will gradually increase.

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