Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) is planning to set up a new 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) plant at Burnpur, West Bengal, in addition to the 2.5 mtpa unit now under erection there. Known formerly as Indian Iron and Steel Company, the erstwhile SAIL subsidiary was merged with its parent in 2006 after which SAIL embarked on a modernisation and expansion programme to revive this nearly century-old unit.

The new plant is being proposed to be set up on the land that would fall vacant after dismantling the old plant which was among Asia’s oldest.

The new plant would take the total capacity of the ISP unit of SAIL (as it is now known) to 5.5 mtpa from 0.5 mtpa now.

Expansion

Confirming this, senior officials at SAIL’s corporate office told The Hindu that the new project would be implemented as part of SAIL’s 2020 plan which envisages a capacity expansion to 45 mtpa.

The old plant at ISP, where hot metal production commenced in 1922, is built up on about 650 acres. This vintage and technologically obsolete plant was envisaged to be phased out after the new 2.5 mtpa project is commissioned and stabilised, officials said. This has come up on land mostly available with SAIL. For the second unit, some additional land may be taken from the existing township.

Referring to the project now under implementation, SAIL sources said that the 2.5 mtpa capacity steel plant was in advanced stage of erection at an investment of around Rs.16,000 crore.

Integrated plant

This steel plant, integrated right from the raw material receipt and handling stage to finished steel despatch is being installed on 953 acres, making it one of the most compact steel plants.

Few of the major units, like the seven metre tall coke oven battery, sinter plant and wire rod mill has commenced production. Although the new 3 mtpa plant has been discussed at SAIL, officials were unwilling to discuss any investment figures beyond saying that it costs under Rs.10,000 crore to set up a million tonnes capacity in similar steel projects.

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