16th Iron & Steel Summit

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Iron and Steel Summit, Raipur 14 December 2019 (1).jpg

India is the world’s largest producer of sponge iron, accounting for approximately 13 per cent of the global production. Since non-coking coal is abundantly available in India, coal based sponge iron contributes about 80 per cent of the total sponge iron producing capacity in the country. Due to scarcity of coking coal for the blast furnace route, Indian coal based sponge iron production expanded over the last decade. Today, though India has 35 MTPA installed capacity for DRI, the production has come down from 24.8 MT in 2010 to 20.05 MT in 2012, 17.81 MT in 2013, 17.31 MT in 2014 and 17.87 in 2015. Leading states in sponge iron production are Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand. Odisha occupies the top position accounting for 36 per cent of the total coal based sponge iron producing capacity in the country followed by Chhattisgarh (27%), West Bengal (14%) and Jharkhand (8 %).

Presently, the situation in the iron & steel industry is very bad. With the acute shortage of key raw materials – iron ore and coal, demand stagnation and stringent government policies are squeezing the iron & steel companies in India. Medium & large units can still continue to run especially those having captive iron ore and coal mines. Forward integration to steel making & rolling along with co-gen module did give some stability to these units but at present, they are all struggling to survive !

The Summit

The ‘Iron & Steel Summit’, being organised for the last 15 years, has been considered as the most valuable platform to facilitate discussions and debates on technological, process related and market dynamics aspects. The Summit addresses the issues related to beneficiation & pelletization, Sponge Iron Making, its viability, Co-generation and also viability of such projects. It discusses the technology involved at various stages of steel making such as melting, continuous casting, rolling, downstream processing etc. The process parameters of beneficiation & pelletization, and their influence on the plant performance will be evaluated in the summit. Apart from this, down the line processes such as melting, continuous casting and rolling will also form an important aspect of this meet. The summit addresses itself to the issue of sustainable growth of integrated mini steel complexes. It will discuss the strategies to combat the price and demand fluctuations as well as the possibility of technology up-gradation in the future. The product diversification and forward integration options such as special steel making, pipe & tube making will also be discussed. The environmental norms are becoming strict gradually and need to be addressed for a sustainable and green industry.

The deliberations will consist of experts in the field, representatives of various trade associations, senior executives from related government departments (state as well as central) etc. It will also highlight the case studies of the organisations already engaged in the above activities and can serve as an important guideline for others.

Your presence to the summit will introduce you to various business opportunities in steel industry.
for complete brochure and registration form click here

Editorial – Annual Issue 2021

It is said that if one wants to predict the future, he will have to first study the past. How was the past one year for the economy and specifically for the steel sector ? Can we draw some conclusions and make some guesstimates about the present fiscal by analysing past year’s performance by iron & steel sector ? Let’s see !

In July 2020, the covid pandemic was creating havoc all over the world and also in India. The steel industry, which was almost shut during the previous quarter, was slowly trying to wake up. As such the steel demand in construction sector was never fully bottomed and it was the first sector which gave an upward push to our industry post covid. Also a good monsoon triggered tractor demand which gave an initial boost to almost shut auto industry. In next few months this industry really bounced back to almost pre covid sales levels. Of course pre covid period was one of the worst phases for Indian auto sector. The iron & steel sector, which was operating at around 50 % capacity utilisation in the month of June 2020, achieved almost 75 % capacity utilisation by October. This was mainly because a fundamentally strong demand in construction sector, bouncing back of auto sector and the surge in exports for the first few months. It should also be noted that the eastern states, which account for higher steel production, never faced labour migration problem. Infact this migration was from western to eastern region and to some extent, the steel industry actually gained from it. Thus by end of the last year, most of the logistics disruptions were corrected and the steel industry was almost back to pre coved levels.

Though the demand was more or less restored, the balance sheets of the steel mills were damaged and would require a long period to wipe out the losses incurred during the peak covid period. Also the SMEs, which form the backbone of any economy, suffered great losses which were difficult to absorb. Indian government did announce a huge 20 Lac crore package and it did help SMEs to some extent, but still few had to pull down the shutter permanently. Nevertheless, pandemic, though a disastrous entity, taught us a lesson or two. It hastened the digitalization process in the industry. Also, ‘Work From Home’ (WFH) evolved as a good alternative to office culture to such an extent that huge centralised offices may become obsolete even after the pandemic is completely over.

What lies next ? I think the steel industry in India stands on a very strong foundation of demand from domestic infrastructure, construction and auto sector (in that order) and will surely remain bullish for a foreseeable future. The Indian economy is expected to grow at a robust rate of 7 to 8 % annually and will certainly provide the required support and the push for iron & steel sector in the country.

Editorial – April 2021

As an important input for infrastructure building, steel has always been very vital industry for the growth of the national economy. No industry can exist without the usage of steel and thus it is the main driver for not only the industry but also for the present structure of the society. The professionals like me who have spent multiple decades in this industry will always take pride in this association with the core industry like steel. A lot of sectors like infra, auto, construction, engineering and so many others use steel as a major input and their fortune is in a way linked with that of steel. Thus it is always a good feeling to be associated with such an important industry vertical of the economy.

The reason to narrate all this is that today our industry has added one more feather in its cap. As we all know, in many cases the covid patient suffers from breathlessness and requires additional supply of oxygen. Out of the total oxygen production in the country, around 80 % of the oxygen is produced by the steel plants for their regular use in iron and steel making. Today these steel plants are diverting this oxygen to the medical emergency to save the lives of our countrymen. It is the manifestation of their love for the country and for the people and our industry has made all of us, the whole steel fraternity, feel proud about it. Today, the oxygen is being carried to different locations and the states with the help of special trains organised by the railways. Thousands of patients across the country are being treated with this oxygen and are thanking our industry. It is a really great feeling !

We all also remember that in the first wave of this deadly pandemic, there was an acute shortage of ventilators and related equipment. Many companies from auto sector like Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra rose to the occasion, quickly developed cost effective and multi user model of ventilators indigenously and supplied in huge numbers for this medical emergency. Mind well, they had to forego their regular vehicle production during this period. What a great patriotic gesture ! Like this a lot of help was extended by other industries as well. At individual level too, we see countless examples of such humanely behaviour. The corona pandemic is no doubt disastrous and may have posed a big threat to human existence but at the same time, has taught us a few lessons of humanity as well.

Our country may be fragmented with many religions, castes, languages, cultures etc. but such incidences assure us that from within we are one and especially at the time of crisis, we will forget all our differences and fight the situation in a united manner. Jai Hind !

D.A.Chandekar

Editorial – February 2021

Rising demand and strong prices ! What else should the Indian iron & steel sector ask for ? Indeed last few months presented more than one surprises for Indian steel industry. The demand started rising somewhere during July-August, the prices started firming around the same period and now in the month of March 2021, the sentiment in the industry seems completely positive. So much so that the government had to lower the import duty on finished steel and also on the scrap and ore in order to put some pressure on prices. These proposals in the recently tabled union budget rightly aimed at giving some relief to the steel using sector such as automobile, infra and construction.

Yes, we have reached the pre-covid production levels and that is really remarkable but is not the peak performance. If one recalls, the Indian economy was not doing well since 2017. The GDP growth rate started falling gradually. Many parameters along with the auto sales figures went southwards and the experts were busy debating whether this can be technically termed as ‘recession’. It was also argued that in today’s connected world, no country can progress in isolation. India also can not progress when most of the countries in the world (of course except China) are undergoing recessionary trends. Quite valid logic ! So my dear friends, hold your crackers and postpone your celebrations. Let us first understand that we have only climbed till the half way mark. A similar situation in Jan 2020 was termed as ‘recession’, so what is the big deal ?

Friends, the most noteworthy fact about today’s situation is that unlike in Jan 2020, its direction is northwards. We have bettered our situation and position in the last two quarters or so. Stabilized the production, strengthened the demand, rebuilt the logistic channels and imparted the required confidence to the user industry. Let me tell you this is a huge contribution not only to the growth of steel industry but also to the national economy which was struggling to come back on the track at that point of time.

So what next ? I feel still a long way to go. If India has to become a 5 trillion economy and if its annual steel making capacity has to reach to 300 mt by 2030-31, our economy has to grow by around 7.5 to 8 % annually. The ‘Indian growth story’ can emerge only out of ‘Indian steel growth story’. Lets keep going, as said in some old poem ‘Miles to go before I sleep’ !

D A Chandekar

Editorial for ‘Steelworld’s Dec 2020 issue.

The steel demand in the country seems to be increasing steadily thanks to the user sectors like infra, construction and auto. The first sign of recovery was visible in September when auto sales showed sizable improvement. Many thought it was accumulated demand as there was almost nil sale during the first few months of lockdown. When the positive trend continued in subsequent months, still it was stamped as festive spike. Now that this upward trend is still continuing, experts are believing it to be a sustainable growth. Lets hope this continues and 2021 be a better year for iron & steel sector in the country.

As mentioned in my last month’s column, after the pandemic, there is a greater need for the industry to be competitive in the global marketplace and for that it must adopt smart manufacturing processes and techniques. Many companies in the manufacturing sector have started looking at Industry 4.0 solutions for increasing the productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of the enterprise. The deadly pandemic has also taught us to care more for the mother earth and thus the iron & steel sector needs to develop environment friendly production and processing technologies creating minimum waste and controlling emission of harmful gases. One such process being developed uses hydrogen as reducing agent instead of coking coal. It is supposed to reduce the carbon footprint during steel production. The problem in developing such green processes is that they are costlier than the prevailing process. It is a big challenge to make them commercially viable so that the industry adopts them for regular use.

The covid period has not only changed the working and thinking of corporations but it has also changed the mindset and the priorities of the society. My gut feeling is that this will have a gradual but definite effect on steel demand profile. Let us remain alert and keep watching how the situation unfolds in coming months !

Editorial November 2020.

I am quite happy about the way Indian iron & steel industry is recovering from the global pandemic of covid-19. As we all know, ‘steel’ is one of the core sector of the economy and is important input to many important industry sectors like infra, construction, white goods, auto, engineering, etc. Thus the performance of steel sector affects so many industry verticals and finally has a big impact on overall economy of the country.

In the first few months of unlocking, the steel production was superseding the demand. This was natural as the steel producers were running the plants where as the construction activity was almost closed, infra projects were completely halted and hardly any vehicle was being sold. In fact many automakers were themselves involved in the noble work of manufacturing safety equipments for the people. The exports surged during this period. But now gradually the steel demand is moving up and the industry balance is getting restored.

Now that the industry is back on recovery track and cruising ahead decently, there are few other challenges peeping in. Firstly, even if the demand is recovering fast, the supply chain which was disrupted at many places has not been healed properly. Many points including the logistics has to be improved further. Secondly, this pandemic has created lot of stress and pressure within global economy and has tremendously increased the competition. This necessitates the need to produce better quality at competitive prices. Thus the producer has to adopt smart manufacturing techniques, or Industry 4.0 as is commonly referred to in India, to enhance efficiency, productivity and thus improve the bottomline of the company. Mind you, Industry 4.0 is not a just a fashionable word but the smart way of inducting the sustainability in the organisation. Sooner or later, everybody has to adopt it.

Another important outcome of covid-19 is the total change in the mindset of individuals as well as the corporations. Now, going to office everyday looks unnecessary. Instead, working from home throughout the week and going to office may be once a week looks normal. Also, planning a business tour for fewer meetings may not look professional. Video meeting or conversation completely serves the purpose. Although, most of the restrictions imposed during the lockdown are now lifted, the local trains in Mumbai and public transport systems in many metros are not fully on track. This has forced many corporations to outsource many of the professional functions which is going on smoothly. This situation has drastically reduced the need to have big number of permanent employees and also of a big office premises.

Indeed, the post covid world is different, interesting and off course challenging. One has to face it with a smiling face !

Editorial — September 2020

posted on October 30 , 2020

The world is slowly coming out of Covid fear. Finally the livelihood proved more important than life and thus professional activities have been re-started and are gearing up all over the world. Mind well, the corona pandemic has not subsided nor we have found the vaccacine but still the industry has gradually started operating. Infact in many places, there has been surge in cases but fortunately the death rate has come down and recovery rate has improved substantially.

Iron & steel industry too has been improving on it’s production figures and by now it has achieved almost 75 % of pre-covid production level. Of course I am talking about the main, integrated and big steel mills. They are comparatively better placed to handle the situation. Many big plants are far away from the main cities and have their own staff and worker’s colony. Thus depending on the market demand, they can enhance their production level in a short time. Of course, there are instances where the pandemic has spread in these colonies too. Smaller rolling mills and processing units will obviously take a longer time to stabilise their production, processing and selling. For these smaller units, the problems are numerous. They have to first look for re-employing the migrated labour. If they have not come back, then getting their replacement is a big issue as it is very difficult to get matching skill set instantly. Secondly, they have to digest the losses of last six months and then raise the new capital. Which bank or financial institution will finance a loss making unit ? Further, the supply chain has been disrupted in many places and restoring it is not an easy task. Also regaining the customer support is very important and will be decided by your past interaction and relations with them. All in all, it is going to be quite an uphill task for smaller units in iron & steel sector. Let’s see how they take on this challenge !

This unforeseen, unprecedented situation has taught all of us a lot of new things. It has really changed the way we think. Naturally, our industry too has lot of takeaways from this situation. Many old business models are collapsing where as a lot of new models are emerging. One has to access the viability of his business model in the light of this new environment. May be there is a need to change, alter or even scrap the old model (as well as the thinking) and come out with an altogether new concept. Innovation was always welcome but in this extraordinary situation it has become the ‘Mantra’ for survival. Face the new world with courage and a smile on the face. Innovate, innovate and ……… innovate ! I promise you will be the winner !

Technology upgradation needed for mineral exploration

 

dilip jha

Mining is an important part of every economy. In a world that is already facing shortages of some of the important minerals and metals like petroleum and coal, the demand for such products is only bound to increase with time. Meeting those demands will be a challenge for the mining and minerals industry worldwide. With the increasing efforts in R&D and technological innovations, the mining and minerals industry has developed huge human resource requirements. There is already a shortage of skilled workforce throughout the world. Developments are taking place rapidly and many companies in this sector are expanding their operations and are working on new projects like the refinery being constructed by Reliance Industries Limited in Jamnagar. Also Bharat Petroleum is conducting R&D for value added products and alternate fuels. So to conclude, it can be said that mining and minerals sector has a bright future, be it in terms of employment or technology. The Mining industry in India is one of the core industries of the economy. It provides basic raw materials to many important industries. The Mining industry is characterized by a large number of small operational mines. India is endowed with huge resources of many metallic and non-metallic minerals. With barely 20% of reserves mined, India presents a major opportunity for investors. India has large reserves of Iron ore, Bauxite, Chromium, Manganese ore, Baryte, Rare earth and Mineral salts. India produces as many as 95 minerals, which includes 4 fuel, 10 metallic, 23 non-metallic, 3 atomic and 55 minor minerals (including building and other materials). In 2015-16, there were more than 2,101 reported mines excluding atomic and minor minerals, natural gas and petroleum (crude) Out of 2,101 reported mines, 274 were located in Madhya Pradesh followed by Tamil Nadu (252), Gujarat (225), Jharkhand (211), Chhattisgarh (162), Odisha (157), Karnataka (146), Andhra Pradesh (135), Maharashtra (134), West Bengal (100). These 10 states together accounted for 85% of the total number of mines in the country in 2015-16. Among them, 558 mines belonged to coal and lignite, 668 to metallic minerals and 975 to non-metallic minerals.

for complete article click here

Indian Mining Sector Highest Taxed in the World

sunil

Sunil Duggal is President, FIMI and Vedanta’s Global CEO for Metals and Mining for Group companies including Sterlite Copper, Vedanta Zinc International – Africa and Ireland, Copper Mines of Tasmania – Australia. He is also the CEO and Whole-time Director of Hindustan Zinc Limited since October 2015. He joined the company in the year 2010 as Executive Director, became Chief Operating Officer in the year 2012 and was Dy. CEO from 2014. In his previous stint, he worked with Ambuja Cement for 20 years, wherein, he drove the growth of the company to plus 20 million tons. He was President at the time of leaving. A result oriented professional with over 36 years of experience of leading high-performance teams and 20 plus years in leadership positions. He is known for converting challenges into opportunities, his ability to keep a level head at all times, nurture and grow a business and successfully drive efficiency and productivity whilst reducing costs by embracing new technologies and innovation. His dedicated efforts on sustainability has helped building a robust safety and sustainability culture. Under his able leadership, HZL has been ranked first in Environment Category and 5th in Sustainability globally by Dow Jones Sustainability Index. His thrust on adopting best-in-class mining and smelting techniques, state of art environment friendly technologies and mechanisation, automation and digitalization of operational activities has added great value. He was born and brought up in Amritsar and comes from a humble background. His initial education is from DAV school, Amritsar and has an Electrical Engineering degree from Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology, Patiala. He is an Alumni of IMD, Lausanne – Switzerland and IIM, Kolkata. He is serving as Vice Chairman – International Zinc Association, President – Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, President – Indian Lead Zinc Development Association. Recently, he has been appointed as the Chair – CII National Committee on Mining. In an interview to Sanjay Singh, Assistant Editor of Steelworld, Duggal says that the mining industry in India is still the highest taxed in the world. Now, the effective tax rate in India works out to be 58% for existing mines and 54% for new mines granted through auction.

for the exclusive interview with Sunil Duggal click here

Editorial – September 2019

chandekarDear Readers,

The Indian economy was doing quite well for the last decade or so and that is the reason many international companies as well as the investing community was eyeing on this newly awakened elephant. This was especially true after the global economic meltdown in 2008 when most of the developed world economies crumbled and India was one of the few growing economies on the planet. This upward journey continued till the end of 2016 but after that the GDP growth rate started slipping. There may be long term benefits of a move like demonitization but on a short term basis, the cash in the market was eroded. Many cash based (legitimate) businesses had received severe jolt and few did not survive this sudden blow.

Big steel corporates were not affected by demonitisation but small mills doing business in cash and evading the tax suffered a lot. I do agree that it is a good transition and has helped the country to strengthen the mainstream economy. Even with respect to GST, the initial teething problems seem to have reduced and the implementation part has started becoming more smooth.

Indian_Auto_Sector

With all the above reasoning, one cannot deny the fact that the country is presently witnessing an economic slowdown. Let the economists debate whether or not it can be technically termed as ‘recession’ but the declining GDP figures for more than two quarters, rising unemployment and especially for steel sector, the disastrous performance by auto sector, all this do not paint, by any standard, a positive picture of the economy. Yes, first of all, let us accept that Indian economy is slowing down, after that will come the solution part.

As far as steel industry is concerned, auto consumes not more that 12 % of steel produced in the country. Thus declining auto sales do not pose a great threat to steel consumption. The bigger problem for steel is slowing down of infra sector, which consumes more that 55 % of steel production and is more or less controlled by central and the state governments. Unless the governments increase their spending for this sector, give a forward push to infra projects, how can steel demand grow?

I do agree that conventionally, auto sector performance was considered as the barometer of the economy of any developing country. Is this assumption still valid? I doubt ! The lifestyle and mindset changes in the last few years have completely changed our approach towards the life. The 21st century, rather than believing in physical infrastructure, believes more in digital one. Steel was the basis of the human progress in 20th century but in this century, human aspirations seem to have taken a new direction. With the progress in solar energy sector, the importance of fossil fuels is certainly going to diminish. With the advent of electric cars, the auto component industry is going to drastically shrink (if not vanish). Can anybody predict what will be the state of steel industry after 10 years?

Performance delivered – The Yıldız Demir Çelik Cold Mill Complex in Turkey

TECH

Yıldız Entegre Holding has more than 100 years’ experience in industry and commerce, and in 2015 it decided to enter the steel business through its subsidiary company, Yıldız Demir Çelik. Danieli was selected as technology partner and supplier of its first steel processing plant : a new, complete cold-mill complex setup representing latest
technologies to produce 1.5M tons per year of high quality cold-rolled, tempered
and coated coils.

The p15:14 30-09-2019roduct range includes white goods applications, commercial, structural and construction grades, IF, HSS, HSLA and DP material, for demanding customers in local and international markets. In 2018 the new installation at Kocaeli started operating in sequence, and already it is producing in excess of the contractual production rate. Danieli acted as the single-source supplier for mechanical, electrical and automation equipment, and the innovative technological solutions and process knowhow applied at Yıldız have been developed by Danieli through continuous in-field experience and R&D improvements.

for complete article click here