India’s NLC to try pilot steel plant using Australian technology

29th January 2016 By: Ajoy K Das - Creamer Media Correspondent

KOLKATA ( - India’s Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLC) has taken the first step to diversify into steel making by establishing a pilot research and development (R&D) integrated plant based on the Coldry-Matmor process.

The southern India-based lignite miner has tied up with Australia’s Environment Clean Technology to conducti a joint feasibility study on the project, a NLC official said.

The proposed integrated Coldry-Matmor process pilot plant would adopt production of steel production using lignite and iron ore based on various R&D models developed by both Environment Clean Technologies and NLC.

NLC said that the Australian company would help in taking forward the Matmor process through reduction of moisture in lignite, accessed from NLC’s mines through a Coldry process, and iron-ore would be added to make pellets which would be used in iron purification and subsequent ingot making. The product was expected to have purity of 95%.

The feasibility report for the pilot plant would be ready by June, following which the plant would be constructed along with technical support personnel of Environment Clean Technology.

India’s largest iron-ore supplie NMDC Limited has been involved in the pilot plant and would be tasked to supply iron-ore, while NLC would supply lignite, infrastructure and land for the project.

However, no information was available on up-scaling the pilot project to commercial scale, with officials maintaining that such a decision would be taken once the various parameters of the completed pilot plant was evaluated by technical experts of NLC and Environment Clean Technologies.

Environment Clean Technologies would also evolve its Coldry technology for reduction of moisture to low levels of at least 12% in lignite and subsequently adapt the technology for the  upgrading of NLC’s lignite mines.

NLC produces an estimated 39-million tonnes of lignite a year.

The miner, which operates predominantly in southern India, has three lignite reserves—Mine I, Mine IA and Mine II which produces 10.5-million tonnes, 3-million tonnes and 10.5-million tonnes of lignite respectively. The company also operates three lignite based power plants in southern India with generating capacities of 600 MW, 14 70 MW and 420 MW respectively.