Steel & refractory industries key to achieve production target
India today imports 30% of refractories, mostly from China. This needs to change to achieve the ambitious target set up by the National Steel Policy
The beginning of the year 2018 brought a lot of cheer to the Indian steel industry. In February, an impressive 3.4 percent rise in production to 8.4 million tonne (mt), ensured India left behind Japan which registered 0.5 percent output fall to 8.2 mt, making India’s production second highest not just for the month, but for the January-February period of the current year as well.
The major factors that made it possible include government’s protection to the domestic industry, bounce back in domestic demand due to ambitious plan to build smart cities, housing for all, implementation of infrastructure projects and recovery of global economy that gave a fillip to the export market.
The outlook also looks encouraging with government claiming that India’s steel demand is guaranteed for next five decades.
Steel manufacturing is a complex process of which refractories are an integral part, just like iron ore. Not a single ton of steel can be made without refractories and various types of refractories are used at different stages of steel making. Approximately 65-70 percent of total refractory output is consumed by steel industry alone. to achieve its ambitious targets, steel needs the support of a strong domestic refractory industry. And being the bigger industry, steel should take up the onus of developing and investing in this partnership.