New Delhi: Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) may be demerged from Coal India, a steel ministry-appointed panel has recommended, taking into account the future demand for coking coal from the steel industry.
The panel was constituted for rationalising the procedure for import and optimising the use of coking coal.
In the recently submitted report to the Steel Ministry, it also said that there was a need to examine the possibility of making BCCL a part of joint venture of with state-owned steel firms.
"Since CIL is fully engaged in production of thermal coal, it may be examined whether BCCL could be demerged and brought under a joint venture of steel public sector companies for greater focus on development and management of coking coal assets," the panel said.
It estimated India's steel production to go up to 149 million tonnes (MT) by 2016-17, from a little over 80 MT now. Assuming 10 MT indigenous availability, it said, nearly 80 MT of coking coal have to be imported from 30 MT now.
The panel feels that BCCL can play a crucial role in meeting the demand of the steel industry if its existing and upcoming capacities are fully utilised.
BCCL is a major coking coal producer. It has eight washeries for prime coking coal and one for the washing of medium coking coal, with a cumulative capacity of 12.68 MT. It also has plans to set up three washeries with a total capacity of 12 MT.
India's coking coal has very high ash content. This can't be used in steel plants directly before being washed in coal washeries, the panel said.
Stating that the production of coking coal for use in the steel industry needs to be doubled in the next five years, the panel also recommended minimising diversion of low-rank coking coals for thermal use.
SAIL and RINL, two public sector steel makers, consumed 18 million tonnes of coking coal in 2010-11, valued at Rs 20,000 crore.
The Planning Commission has also recommended the spinning off all CIL subsidiaries into separate units so that each one of them can pursue its own goals. Here also the need stemmed from the growing coal supply deficit.
"The industry would be better served if the subsidiaries were spun off as separate public sector companies encouraged to develop their own strategies of coal development including joint venture activities and acquisition of assets abroad," said the 12th Five Year (2012-17) Plan document.
First Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012, 11:19