‘India may import 25 mn tonnes of steel’

May 31st, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by admin  

Jamshedpur, May 31 (IANS) India may have to import 25 million tonnes of steel within the next five years if the present demand-supply mismatch continues, Tata Steel managing director B. Muthuraman said here Saturday. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the company’s ‘H’ blast furnace, the largest in the country, Muthuraman said: “Consumption of steel is going up by 8-10 million tonnes per annum. This will continue for several years.”

“If this continues, we may have to import 25 million tonnes of steel in the next five years,” he added.

Muthuraman submitted a four-point proposal to Steel Secretary R.S. Pandey to control the capacity crisis, suggesting faster acquisition, faster rehabilitation, faster processing of minerals and stopping iron ore exports.

Pandey, who commissioned the blast furnace, said: “India has now become a net importer of steel.”

Steel imports jumped by 46 percent in 2007-08. During that period, India imported seven million tonnes of steel and exported five million tonnes.

Pandey said the India has the potential to become one of the world’s largest steel producers. He said India would produce 124 million tonnes of steel by 2011-2012 and by 2015-16 it was likely to become the second highest producer.

According to him, the rise in steel prices was mainly due to the hike in the costs of raw materials like iron ore and coking coal.

“Controlling iron ore exports is being looked into,” Pandey added.

The newly commissioned blast furnace has a production capacity of 7,150 tonnes per day.

Muthuraman said the company would produce 10 million tonnes of steel by mid-2010.

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