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SAIL hungry for more iron ore

Calcutta, Aug. 31: Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has decided to shovel more money into machines that will extract an additional two million tonnes of iron ore required to keep running its four integrated plants at full pelt.

The company’s raw material division (RMD) has been asked to jack up production of iron ore to 13.59 million tonnes against the last year’s 11.94 million tonnes. It will only feed Durgapur, Bokaro and Rourkela, all of which are located in the eastern region.

Another 7.8 million tonnes are required for the Bhilai plant, which has its own mines to meet the demand.

“Close to two million tonnes of additional iron is required this year as the four integrated plants are trying to achieve high production targets,” sources said.

The spike in demand for raw materials has forced the company to craft a detailed investment policy to increase the production of iron ore. “The acquisition of mining machinery alone by the raw materials wing is expected to cost the company over Rs 30 crore,” they said.

The blueprint for development of new sites at Kiriburu, Bolani and Barsua mines are on the drawing board. Hill number three at Kiriburu will enable the company get an additional 6 lakh tonnes of iron ore per annum, while another one million tonnes of ore will be available from the “D” area of the Bolani mines.

The department is in the process of developing new mining sites at Taldih to ferret out four lakh tonnes more.

“The demand and supply graph is not comfortable. A huge growth in hot metal demand is seen this year. Moreover, this trend is seen not only in India, but everywhere in the world,” a senior SAIL executive said.

The majority of mines under the department are highly mechanised, and manual processes have given way to automation.

“We have also been asked to put added emphasis on enhancing quality of the raw materials to ensure higher productivity in the plants’ blast furnaces. We have already taken up several measures to improve the quality of ore,” the official said.

The south block at Kiriburu and central block of Meghatuburu will be taken up under the new initiatives.

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