Essar commissions Rs 6,000-cr pellet complex in Odisha

Bhubneshwar: Essar today announced commissioning of its Rs 6,000 crore integrated pellet complex in Odisha that will convert low-grade iron fines into pellets.

With commissioning of this 6 mtpa pellet plant in the first stage, Essar Steel’s total pellet capacity has gone up to 14 million tonnes, making it the largest Indian producer of this intermediary product for manufacturing of steel.

The unit is backed by a 253-km long slurry pipeline from the hinterlands of Dabuna for carrying low-grade ore to Paradip.

Another 6 mtpa facility will be completed within a year at the Paradip unit to raise the capacity in Odisha to 12 mtpa and Essar’s total capacity to 20 million tonnes, company’s Vice-Chairman Firdose Vandrevala said at a press conference here.

Essar Steel also operates an 8 mtpa plant at Visakhapatnam.

This marks completion of the integration process of Essar Steel as it will feed the company’s 10 mtpa capacity steel plant in Hazira, Vandrevala said.

In his message on the occasion, Essar’s Chairman Shashi Ruia said: “The way this state-of-the-art complex has been designed puts maximum emphasis on achieving our goals in Odisha. It is a matter of pride that Indian engineers delivered this challenging project keeping a balance between growth and sustainability.”

It sets a unique example of backward and forward integration as the beneficiation plant located in Dabuna is in close proximity to iron ore mines and by slurry transportation in a cost efficient manner to Paradip where the finished products are transported through a 9.5 km long conveyor belt to Essar berth at port for shipments to desired destination, said Vandrevala.

The slurry pipeline is the most cost effective and fastest mode of transportation that eases significant pressure on rail and road network, with reduced carbon foot print and minimal environmental impact, he said. (More) PTI SKN DKB

Responding to questions, Rajendra Mittal, Essar Odisha CEO, said a milestone has been achieved as part of the company’s commitment to the state as the company’s 90 per cent of over 2,000 direct and indirect workforce comes locally.

The complex has its own transport facility to carry raw material to the plant and finished product to the port, while a 120 MW captive power plant is in progress to make the project totally self-sufficient, he said.

To a question on why Odisha, Vandrevala said the state is endowed with the largest reserves of iron ore and happens to be the largest producer of the crucial raw material for steel making in the country.

“A large part of this production is in the form of fines, a virtual waste that can be used only after converting into pellets. Also Paradip is endowed with a deep draft all weather port and is strategically located with access to both eastern and western markets,” said Vandrevala.

Mittal said the state has emerged as one of the most investor-friendly state and the project was possible with persistent support and industry-friendly policies of the government of Odisha.

According to company officials, Essar entities will have a total pellet capacity of 27 mtpa once commissioning of the second phase and after the seven mtpa facility in Minnesota, USA becomes operational in the second half of 2015, it will be among the world’s top three in this segment.

Explaining about the importance of pellets, they said pellets are a critical and reliable raw material for iron making and find usage across all iron making processes including Blast Furnace, Corex and DRI.

Iron Ore fines cannot be generally used directly in their physical form and the only way to use the fines is to convert them into pellets, the officials said.

Deepak Arora, who heads the Essar Foundation, said coterminous with the plant, the foundation has taken a number of steps and launched a host of programs for the welfare of the local community in the sphere of health and sanitation, education and vocational activities to make them self-reliable.