Government funding projects under notified private exploration agencies: Sanjay Lohia, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines

We have taken initiative to notify private exploration agencies, 14 agencies have been notified till now and they have already submitted many projects for funding. We are ready to fund further exploration in areas that have good potential but has not been explored by state governments or the Geological Survey of India. It will be ideal if ASSOCHAM can get the private exploration agencies as members so that there can be co-ordination between them and the industry. States have begun adopting auctioning at composite licence and are getting good premiums. Auctioning at composite license adds another 2 years which is an added advantage, said Mr. Sanjay Lohia, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines, at the India Steel Summit organised by ASSOCHAM.

“The government has undertaken policy reforms over the years to strengthen the sector. Auction was introduced in mine allocation, which started off slow but has picked up in the past few years and the ministry is putting up many mines for auction. The high premiums being quoted currently will be resolved once more mines are developed”, he added.

“A significant portion of the cost of steel is due to coking coal. The Ministry of Coal has taken the initiative to improve the availability of coking coal and many commercial coal blocks are coming up for auction. The Ministry of Mines is open to making amendments that will help the steel industry invest in securing coking coal mines. The Government of India is ready to help companies acquire coal mines in other countries.” he reiterates.

Earlier, welcoming attendees at the summit, Dr. Vinod Nowal, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Iron and Steel & Chairman, JSW Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd said, “Indian steel industry has been a keen contributor to our nation’s progress, contributing about 2% of GDP currently. With the introduction of a new National Steel Policy, the aspiration is to produce 300 million tonnes per annum by 2030-31. Crude steel production is expected to reach 255 million tonnes by 2030-31 at 85% capacity utilization. With 24 million tonnes estimated exports, production is expected to reach 206 tonnes by 2030-31 as a result per capita steel consumption is anticipated to rise from86.2 at present to 160kg.”

Addressing the summit, Mr. Atul Singh, Vice President, AM/NS Khopoli Ltd, said “India will be a hub of growth and a magnet for consumption, investment and trade. This makes it imperative for steel as an industry to remain competitive and prepared to attract trade flows from all over the world. We must be open to the idea that disruption within the steel industry can also come from technologies which are assumed to be non-mainstream. The policy decision and choice we make today will have an impact on how we as an industry compete over the next 25 years.”

Mr. S. K. Pradhan, Chief Marketing Officer, Jindal Steel & Power Limited, said “To meet the projected target of 300 million tonne of steel by 2030 the sector must focus on efficient utilization of resources to optimise production and output. The focus should be on steel to be the material of choice for national infrastructure and construction projects and to promote ‘Make in India’ by leveraging domestic capabilities to manufacture engineering products for the domestic markets.”

Participating in a panel discussion, Mr. Peeyush Kumar, OSD, Ministry of Coal said, “For energy security and Atma Nirbhar Bharat we need to think about how we can increase the production of coking coal, how we can maximize blending of imported coking coal among others. A committee has been constituted to increase domestic production of coking coal and the government is considering viability gap funding sort of financial assistance to the coal gasification projects.”

Mr. Gopalakrishnan Ganesan, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Steel said, “For steel sector, coking coal is a critical raw material for which we are largely import dependent. The ministry is focussed on how to facilitate the easy availability of raw materials. Scrap aggregation is an important issue that requires coordinated attention from the industry.”

Enhancing Competitiveness & Overcoming Challenges was the key theme at the summit. Panel discussion on Sustainable Raw Materials Supply for Indian Steel Sector, Enhancing Export competitiveness in Steel Sector: From Local to Global and Steel manufacturing through New Age technology and green growth of Indian steel industry was held at the summit where key stakeholders from the government and industry participated.


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