The Rs.31,000-crore project will use coal gas to produce iron
The first phase of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.’s (JSPL) Rs.31,000-crore integrated steel plant with coal gas-based DRI (direct reduction iron) technology is heading for completion, nearly two years behind schedule. If all goes well, this plant, the biggest investment in Odisha, will be commissioned in July.
The company has invested Rs.17,000 crore so far, and the plant is almost 90 per cent complete. A plate mill is functioning since August last year by procuring raw material from JSPL’s unit in Raigad and 675 MW coal-based power generation capacity has been commissioned.
The other units such as the coal gasification plant, the DRI plant, the steel plant and other related facilities are almost 90 per cent complete, and the company is hopeful of getting the final clearance to extract coal from its mine nearby within two months. It is also trying for allotment of an iron ore mine to get uninterrupted raw material supplies. However, two other infrastructure linkage problems need to be sorted out quickly for the successful operation of the plant.
The water pipeline is yet to be completed and a 6 km rail line is yet to be laid. The company is facing problem in completing these and has sought the State government’s help.
“This will be the most prominent and most modern plant in the steel industry. We have made the biggest investment here. This is a very special project because we will use innovative technology to make iron by making use of coal gas. This will be the world’s largest coal gas-based DRI plant,” Ravi Uppal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, told The Hindu.
“We decided to go in for coal gas-based plant because there is acute shortage of natural gas to make steel. We have no option but to convert low grade coal into gas to produce iron,” Mr. Uppal added. “We have taken all steps to start production. Now we need support from the government to get statutory clearances.
“There should not be any hostilities (from locals) and indifference (from the government).
“We have permission to lay a water pipeline but some people are creating hurdles. Our investment is so huge here that it has become our home state,” he added.
The company had a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for the project-affected people and welfare programme for the local community. This plant would change the economy of the whole region, said Mr. Uppal.
(The correspondent was in Angul at the invitation of JSPL)