State-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (Sail), has restarted BF No. 6 at its Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) on Oct 7. The furnace was idled in March 2020 along with others, after COVID-19 hit the Indian economy and business operations. The steelmaker shut furnaces to avoid piled-up inventories and resulting adverse market conditions.

 

BSP expects its daily hot metal production to increase by 2,000-3,000mt after the refiring of BF No.6. Until now, the plant was operating with four blast furnaces producing around 15,000-16,000mt of hot metal per day.

 

The plant has eight blast furnaces, of which three are still shut. The decision to resume BF No.6 came in the wake of improvement in domestic demand. Sources in the company feel steel demand is set to recover further in H2 of the fiscal year 2020-21.

 

On Sept 25, Sail’s Bhilai plant achieved record hot metal production of 16,051mt with only four furnaces in operation. The oldest furnace no 1 produced 2,194mt, while the newest addition BF No.8 produced 8,128mt on the day.

 

Sail has also raised HRC prices by Rs2,000/mt ($27.32/mt) earlier in the month with demand from the automotive and other down-stream sectors improving.

 

The company’s crude steel production and sales were at 16.15mn mt and 14.5mn mt, respectively, in FY 2020 ending March 2020.

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