By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, July 14, 2017 : Essar Steel has worked out a plan to double its pellet making capacity to 12 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) at its Paradip unit by the end of Narch, 2018. The current capacity of the pellet plant is six mtpa.

The company has made substantial progress and is in final stages of completing the expansion of the pellet project at Paradip, a company official said adding that after the expansion, the Paradip plant will be the single largest pelletisation complex in the country.

Pellet is an intermediate material in steel making which competes with iron ore lumps. The use of pellets in blast furnaces reduces coke rate and cuts downs on emissions of carbon dioxide by up to 85%. The cost of pellet production is Rs 3,300 per tonne.

The pellet unit at Paradip uses low-grade iron ore fines (58-63% Fe) beneficiated at its plant at Dabuna near Keonjhar. The beneficiated iron ore fines are transported through 253-km slurry pipeline.

In last financial year, the company exported 1.2 million tonnes of pellets. But gradually, Essar Steel will cut its pellet exports and use them for further value addition.

The company has the largest pellet manufacturing capacity in the country at 20 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) followed by JSW Steel at 13 mtpa and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) with 9.2 mtpa.