India’s largest steel maker Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) & Kobe Steel of Japan have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) at Kobe’s headquarters in Tokyo today for setting up a 0.5 million tonne per annum iron nugget making plant using Kobe’s patented ITmK3 technology at SAIL’s Alloy Steels Plant in Durgapur, West Bengal, India. As per the agreement, SAIL and Kobe Steel will be entitled to equal share of production from the plant for captive use.
The agreement was signed by SAIL Chairman Shri C.S. Verma and Kobe Steel President & CEO Mr. H. Sato in presence of the Union Minister for Steel, Shri Beni Prasad Verma, the Secretary, Ministry of Steel, Shri D.R.S. Chaudhary and other senior officials from the Ministry of Steel and SAIL. Several senior officials of Kobe Steel were also present on the occasion, including Executive Vice President & Board Representative Mr. Jun Tanaka, Senior Managing Director Mr. Kawasaki and Director & Head of Iron Unit Division, Mr. Kazuyuki Tanaka.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Beni Prasad Verma expressed his happiness at the joint venture of SAIL and Kobe Steel and was optimistic about setting up of more projects for the Indian steel industry with the help of Japanese technology. “The ITmK3 technology will also utilise dump iron ore fines, disposal of which is an environmental issue,” said the Steel Minister.
Kobe Steel is one of the prominent steel makers of Japan, which is the world’s second largest steel producing country. It is one of the largest suppliers of alloy steels to Japanese automobile companies. Besides ITmK3, Kobe has also developed new cutting-edge technologies like the Midrex process which has been recognised the world over for producing iron using gaseous fuel. Both ITmK3 and Midrex technologies have successfully replaced coal as an input material for iron making and are recognised for their low energy consumption and environment friendliness.
Known as pioneers in iron & steel R&D, Kobe Steel has developed new products and technologies which have enormous utilisation potential in numerous industries and social infrastructure development. This gives an opportunity for Indian steel firms to enter into strategic relationships with Kobe Steel so that strengths of respective companies could be leveraged.
The SAIL-Kobe Steel JV project will harness the strengths of both the leading steel companies. While SAIL will contribute land, iron ore and other engineering services for the project, Kobe steel will provide the technology for setting up the plant and its operation.