India is expected to become the largest coking coal importer through sea route by 2022 as the country pushes for more steel production, a Tata Steel official said on Tuesday. India currently imports about 85 per cent of its coking coal demand through imports and, by 2022, the demand of coking coal is projected to grow to 67 million tonne from about 56 million tonne now. “India may become be the largest coking coal importer by 2022 through sea route,” Tata Steel raw material strategy group chief Somesh Biswas said in his address at the mJunction organised 12th India coal market conference.
China is the largest importer of Australian coking coal but it is reducing gradually due to various factors, Biswas said. He later clarified that these were his personal comments and observations. Former Coal India chairman N C Jha also said India to remain heavily dependent on imported coking coal. “The national steel policy forecasts coking coal demand of 161 mtpa by 2030-31, 31 mtpa of non-coking coal for PCI, 105 mtpa of non-coking coal requirement for DRI route,” Jha said.
Jha said, “Thirty five per cent of total requirement of 161 mtpa coking coal by 2030-31 is about 56.35 mtpa. This is a challenge to coal and steel producers. India has to heavily depend on imported coking coal for its plan to produce 300 mt of crude steel by 2030-31.” Overall, coal and coke imports during the first half of the current fiscal increased by 13.9 per cent to 119.42 mt, compared to 104.81 mt in the same period last year.