SAIL Board Clears 20Mt Target

Kolkata, April 29 | Updated: Apr 30 2004, 05:30am hrs
The board of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has approved in principle a plan to expand its hot metal production capacity to 20 million tonne by 2011-12 and also sanctioned a project each at the Bhilai and Bokaro plants to improve the quality and increase the volume of finished products. The investment required for the two projects, cleared at a board meeting on April 27, adds up to Rs 219 crore.

At present, SAIL has a total hot-metal capacity of 12.969mt, with Bhilai accounting for 4.08mt and Bokaro 4.585mt. Bhilais blast furnace no 7 will be upgraded at a cost of Rs 134 crore, while the finishing mill of the hot strip mill of the Bokaro plant will be revamped at a cost of Rs 85 crore. Work on the projects will begin soon. The previous board meeting, in March, had cleared two other projects at the Bhilai plant in Chhattisgarh and Bokaro in Jharkhand worth around Rs 600 crore. Under these projects, Bhilai will get a new slab caster and secondary refining unit, while Bokaros cold-rolling mill will be modernised. However, these projects were part of the government-owned steel majors continuous modernisation and upgradation programme.

We want to remain a major domestic player. Hence, the board has approved in principle our capacity expansion plan till 2011-12. The details of the corporate plan are being fin-alised, SAILs chairman VS Jain told FE. During 2003-04, Bhilai operated five out of its seven blast furnaces. This fiscal, it has started operating the sixth one. The seventh furnace will be started up after it is upgraded.

Bokaro, on the other hand, operates four blast furnaces at present and a plan to operate the fifth is under consideration.

As part of BF-7s upgrade, it will get a gas cleaning plant and the latest in refractory lining and cooling systems. The volume of the furnace would go up from 2,000cu.m. at present to 2,214cu.m.