Both achieved the 5-million-tonne milestone on March 20

Our Bureau

Kolkata, March 23

Two of the country's top steel plants, the Bhilai unit of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and the Jamshedpur-based Tata Steel, have claimed to be the first to achieve five million tonnes (mt) output of hot metal in a financial year.

The two companies, in separate press releases, have made this claim.

Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) stated that on March 20, the cumulative hot metal production had touched 5.01 mt.

The private sector steel giant, issued a statement that "Tata Steel surpassed the 5-mt milestone in hot metal production on March 20".

According to SAIL, Bhilai crossed its previous best of 4.93 mt of hot metal production (achieved in the 2003-04 financial year) on March 17, 2006.

Tata Steel too recorded its best production in the same fiscal, at 4.47 mt, and crossed its previous best on February 14 this year.

BSP hopes to push the production further and has set a target of 5.14 mt for the current fiscal. Tata Steel had not set any such target but adds that with the completion of its ongoing expansion programme, hot metal production would rise to an annual level of 7.5 mt by 2008.

BSP stated that except for the period May-January 2005-06 (during which it operated all seven blast furnaces), the unit achieved this record production by operating six blast furnaces.

While analysing its achievement, the Tata Steel statement points out it was possible because the `G' Blast Furnace is being revamped under the 1-mt expansion project.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 24, 2006)
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