The incessant rains lashing Andhra Pradesh for the past five days have impacted the production of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of Vizag Steel, by 60-70 per cent as raw material supplies were hit, according to official sources.
The steel maker normally produces 12,000 to 13,000 tonnes of steel every day.
Raw material supplies, including iron ore coal and coking coal, from Gangavaram and Visakhapatnam Ports were stopped as the operations at the ports were affected due to heavy rains.
The sources said as most of the coal is kept at the port itself, the RINL plant is not able to draw coal as the conveyor belt could not transport coal in dampened condition.
Coal is used for RINL’s captive power plant while coking coal is used in steel making.
“We get coal from Talcher coal mines and coking coal from Australia. As operations from both the ports were hit by the rains supplies have been affected forcing us to cut down the production. The current production levels for the past 4 to 5 days stand at 30 per cent to 40 per cent,” sources told PTI.
The PSU imports more than 3.5 million tonnes of cooking coal per annum from Australia to meet its requirements.
Talcher Coalfield is located in Angul district in the Indian state of Odisha.
According to sources, the steel maker has three furnaces.
Out of these, one is under capital repair and another one is a new one which is yet to meet 100 per cent capacity utilisation.
“We are doing our best to maintain the production. The production may be affected for another 5 to 6 days. Most of the coal became slurry due to continuous rains,” sources said.
The conveyor belt which transports coal from Gangavaram Port to the steel plant was not functioning due to non-supply of stocks and may require thorough check after the situation comes to normalcy, they added.
RINL is currently working on expansion, after which the steel-making capacity will increase to 6.3 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), from the existing 3 MTPA.
Gangavaram Port in a statement said that the operations at their port have been going on regularly but the continuous rains have affected the overall efficiency by reducing the discharge rates and dispatches. Also, fertiliser vessel operations have been stopped completely.