India’s largest steel producer Maharatna Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Kobe Steel of Japan will sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on 10th July, 2012 in Japan, paving the way for setting up a 0.5 million tonne per annum (MTpa) iron nugget plant in Durgapur, West Bengal using Kobe’s patented ITmK3 technology. The MoA will be signed in the presence of Union Steel Minister Shri Beni Prasad Verma, the Secretary Steel Shri D.R.S Chaudhary, Joint Secretary (Steel) Shri U.P. Singh, Chairman, SAIL, Shri C.S. Verma and other senior officials of SAIL and Kobe Steel. A joint venture company ‘SAIL-Kobe Iron India Pvt. Ltd.’ in which SAIL and Kobe Steel hold equal equity, has already been incorporated.
SAIL and Kobe Steel had earlier signed an MoU on 30th March 2010 for conducting a joint feasibility study for exploring and commercialization of ITmk3 technology developed by Kobe for production of iron nuggets used for steel production. The pre-feasibility study prima facie establishes that the project is economically viable.
For production of 0.5 MT of iron nuggets, the plant to be set up at SAIL’s Alloy Steels Plant in Durgapur will require around 0.8 MT of iron ore fines per annum which will be supplied from Gua Iron Ore Mines of SAIL. Output from the proposed plant will be shared between SAIL and Kobe Steel for captive use in their own plants/joint ventures.
ITMk3 stands for ‘iron making technology mark three’. This is a proprietary technology of Kobe for producing a premium quality pig iron (nuggets). One of the features of ITmk3 process is that it can produce iron nuggets by utilizing relatively low-grade iron ore fines and non-coking coal as major raw materials and does not require either iron ore lump or blast furnace coke/coking-coal. Also, ITmK3 does not require coke oven plant or sinter plant for producing iron nuggets. CO2 emission is also less as compared to production through the blast furnace route, making the technology very environment-friendly.
Setting up of the ITmK3 plant will show-case cooperation between India and Japan. The visiting Indian team will also look at other areas of cooperation for which a meeting has been scheduled with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade & Investment.
06 July 2012