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.

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Indian Mining Sector Highest Taxed in the World


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.


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


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

Drivers for Sustainability of Indian Steel Industry


Steel has historically been the building block of a nation’s rapid industrial development. India is a resource based country and is blessed with large reserves of Iron Ore, Coal, Limestone, i.e the main raw materials required for Iron & Steel making but its sustainability has always been a major challenge. Indian steel industry has seen several up and downs in the past but despite all odds, it has made rapid strides in the last three decades from 22 MT in FY 1991-92 prior to deregulation, to 106 MT in FY 2018-19, thus becoming the second largest steelmaker in the world, after China.
The Indian steel industry operates under three broad based process routes for production viz. BF-BOF, EAF and IF. Recognizing the opportunities available in the country, mainly due to very low per capita consumption of steel and increased focus on infrastructure development, Ministry of Steel, Govt of India prepared a road map in the form of the National Steel Policy -2017 (NSP-17) to create a sustainable Iron & Steel Industry with focus on increasing the production capacity from ~ 130 MT presently to 300 MT by 2030 and to make country self-sufficient in terms of steel and alloyed steel. Thus, the next 10 years will see huge capital investments in the Iron & Steel sector in setting up of Greenfield plants as well as Brown field expansions.
Although, India’s steel production has increased significantly but our dependency on technology and supply of some of the critical raw materials has not improved much, which is leading to huge outflow of foreign exchange. It is high time, the stakeholders of steel sector i.e the design and consultancy organizations, steel producers, R&D organizations, academia and the government work together in developing a sustainable R&D platform capable of indigenous design and manufacture of equipments/ facilities as well as provide innovative solutions to the challenges faced by the steel sector in terms of enhancing process and product capability, cost-effectiveness, competitiveness, quality and environmental issues.
Drivers for Sustainability of Steel Industry
The key drivers for sustainability of the Indian steel sector can be classified under following heads:
• Competitiveness
• Cost-effectiveness
• Quality
• Product development
• Environment and energy
The competitiveness of the steel industry will largely depend on its ability to produce cost-effective steels of desired quality and volume, as per the changing market requirements. India is blessed with huge iron ore reserves of 33.3 billion tons with average iron content of 64%. Due to high Iron content, due importance could not be accorded towards adoption of the advanced beneficiation technologies like adopted in other parts of the world. Now, the grades are deteriorating and some of the deposits are facing major challenges because of high alumina content, which leads to formation of viscous slag and low productivity of the blast furnace. Similarly, Silica also is increasing continuously and impacting the competitiveness. Thus, optimum utilization of low grade iron ore in one of the most cost effective manner without compromising on environmental performance will be the major challenge for providing sustainability in the sector.

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Indian Structural Steel Fabrication Seminar 2019


Indian Steel construction industry is growing at a rapid phase in sectors like railways infrastructure for augmentation of high speed, semi-high speed and dedicated freight corridors network for commercial and industrial transportation.
These points were deliberated at the Indian Structural Steel Fabrication Summit 2019. The speakers spoke on the central government investments on new projects year on year, and said there is a big scope seen in terms of steel fabricated structures from plates welded and box girders for making an open truss steel bridges for faster installation and laying rail networks where ever possible. for complete report click here

Sponge Iron industry passing through difficult times


Vijay Jhanwar is the President of Chhattisgarh Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association. A first-generation entrepreneur who has successfully turned around a few NPA small sized steel plants including the only sponge iron plant of Bastar.

In an interview with Sanjay Singh, Assistant Editor of Steelworld, Jhanwar spoke in details about the issues facing the sponge iron industry in India. He also underlined the need for participation of smaller industries in the auction process of mines be allowed so to have a fair distribution of resource and even a fair competition.

Sponge Iron industry passing through difficult times What is the present status of the sponge iron industry? Sponge iron industry is going through quite a difficult market conditions because there has been a crash in steel prices in last 3 months. The demand for finished steel is less from all the sectors. Sponge iron market is totally dependent on finished steel demand and its domestic price. Unfortunately, this time the raw material prices especially

For this exclusive interview click here


16th Iron & Steel Summit



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 April 2019


Dear Readers,

A few years back, Ministry of Steel (Govt of India) set a target of creating 300 mtpasteel making capacity by 2030-31 and this attracted various types of reactions from different sections within iron & steel industry of the country. Present steelmaking capacity of the country is around 135 mtpa. Thus to achieve 300 mtpa capacity, the country has to create around 165 mtpa capacity in around 12 years, i.e. around 13 mtpa of capacity addition every year.

Few analysts felt that this figure of 300 mtpa is quite ambitious and cannot be achieved while others felt that maybe this is a bit hard to achieve the target but it will help the industry to think in a positive direction and will surely provide a much required forward push. This also manifests the government’s position and its willingness to help the industry to grow. I definitely see a point in this.

We all know that to produce a tone of finished steel, three tons of raw materials have to be moved. Thus to move 900 tonnes of raw materials and 300 tonnes of finished steel, we need really huge infrastructure and transport facilities. Further, along with the finished steel capacity, the raw materials (such as iron ore, coal & coke, ferroalloys, lime etc.) availability has to be geared up. Another issue related to this acquisition bill. Greenfield steel plants require big land mass and unless this bill is passed, required land availability may not be possible. Brownfield expansions have their own limitations of land and thus can contribute only marginally to capacity creation. The last and most important point is building and running these steel plants. While there are not enough companies to design, erect and commission a steel project, there is also a huge gap in terms of technical manpower required to run the plant. Metallurgists are in a smaller number when compared to all the engineering branches. Even today, it is extremely difficult to find an experienced metallurgist to run a steel unit. To summarize, there are challenges to overcome in order to achieve the target of 300 mtpa, but again, not impossible. Nobody can deny that the overall performance of the national economy will have a very big impact on the prospects of the iron & steel sector.

My point is slightly different. ‘Steel’ being an intermediate product, should not have any ‘target’ of its own. It should only have a capacity ‘projection’ depending on the estimated demand from the user sector. While doing the projections calculations also, many ‘experts’ merely add the future capacity expansion plans of individual companies and arrive at the final capacity figure. The correct methodology should be to study various user sectors, estimate their growth rates, estimate their future demand of steel, consider an export-import factor in the light of the global economy and then finally arrive at the future estimated demand projection. In my opinion, such an exhaustive exercise only can give us a fairly realistic picture of the future growth of iron & steel industry in the country.

October Editorial 2018

In 2017, Indian economy was shadowed by demonetization in the first half and the implementation of much awaited GST.As mentioned in my last piece, one may debate on the long term utility of these measures but on a short term basis the economy did get a big jolt. Organized part of iron & steel industry did not get much affected by demonetization and infact it gained a little bit from GST implementation. Now in 2018, Indian economy seems to have recovered from these tremors and is cruising forward. The GDP growth rates of the first two quarters of 2018 (7.5 % and 8.2 % respectively) are quite encouraging for the economy as well as for the iron & steel industry. A good GDP growth rate always encourages the industry and in turn helps the steel demand to rise.

If one looks at the user industry sectors of steel, there too a positive sentiment is prevailing. Infrastructure sector which consumes maximum steel, is growing at a steady speed. Many mega projects have now shifted from drawing boards to the sites. They are expected to give a big boost to steel demand in the country. As regards construction, one may develop a feeling that it is stagnated in big metros. Yes, it may be the case but look at tier II and Tier III cities. They are growing at amazing speed and eating lot of steel in the process. Auto industry too is growing at a decent speed and creating a good demand for flat steels (body) and long products (auto parts). Of course experts feel concerned about the auto steel demand on a long term basis when electric vehicles will be popular. In any case, today all seems to be well.


Today, one of the major concerns of the industry is rising oil prices. It makes the transport more costly and affects all the products, industrial as well as household. As we all know, for producing a tone of steel three tones of raw materials are required. Thus in totality, four tones are transported. With these facts in mind, one can imagine the impact oil price rise is going to have on iron & steel industry.

If the industry has to progress, technology should provide the push and the direction for this transition. For the last few years, we have been talking about automation, robotics in steel sector. Now the concept of ‘smart manufacturing’ or ‘industry 4.0’ is getting popular. With implementation of this, one can not only monitor but also effectively and efficiently manage his factory by using an app on his mobile phone. I feel now is the time Indian iron & steel industry should look for such technological upgradation so as to improve on quality, productivity and overall efficiency of the plant.


If the industry has to progress, technology should provide the push and the direction for this transition. For the last few years, we have been talking about automation, robotics in steel sector. Now the concept of ‘smart manufacturing’ or ‘industry 4.0’ is getting popular. With implementation of this, one can not only monitor but also effectively and efficiently manage his factory by using an app on his mobile phone. I feel now is the time Indian iron & steel industry should look for such technological upgradation so as to improve on quality, productivity and overall efficiency of the plant.