India’s coking coal imports increased around 3 per cent in FY23 to 54.33 million tonnes (mt); with countries like the USA, and Indonesia witnessing a doubling of shipments. The increase came with the country’s steel mills exploring cheaper alternatives, like Russian coal, as against costlier supplies from Australia – the largest supplier.

In FY22, shipments coming into India was 53.04 mt.

Coking coal is a key steel-making raw material, and India – the world’s second largest producer of crude steel – is also amongst the largest importer of the feedstock material.

As per data collated by Steelmint, Australian coking coal shipments declined 13 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to 36.13 mt last fiscal (from 41.65 mt in FY22), as prices inched up.

Interestingly, in previous years, when the price of coking coal was cooling off or there was lesser volatility in price, Indian mills preferred to go with Australian coking coal. For instance, in FY22, most mills opted for Australian coking coal, and as a result, the shipments coming in from all other supplier nations took a fall (as compared to FY21).

Other Gain

This fiscal though, USA, Indonesia and Russia were the few key gainers.

The shipments from the USA, India’s second largest source, were 7.04 mt, up 91 per cent YoY. Coking coal coming into India, from the US, was 3.69 mt.

Also read: Higher thermal, coking coal imports drive up traffic at India’s ports by 10%

Shipments from Indonesia rose 132 per cent to 2.90 mt last fiscal as against just 1.25 mt in the year-ago period. It displaced Canada as the third largest coking coal supplier.

Supplies from Canada rose 53 per cent YoY to 2.82 mt; while supply of Russian coking coal increased 40 per cent YoY to 2.27 mt. However, Russia continued to be among the top six suppliers.

Data from Steelmint, show coking coal supplies coming into India from Mozambique saw a 50 per cent-odd increase in FY23 to 2.79 mt. The increase came as some Indian steel mills, mostly secondary ones, had tried to use coal from the African nation as an alternative blending option in their furnaces.

Shipments from non-traditional markets like New Zealand and Columbia have also been explored this year as alternative sources. |

India’s coking coal production

Coal India – the world’s largest coal miner – said coking coal production in India rose by 17. 2 per cent YoY to 54.6 mt last fiscal. Of this, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd produced 33.7 mt; while Central Coalfield Ltd produced 20.6 mt.

Coal India previously said that it aims to produce 12 mt per annum of washed coal by 2030 (with ash content of 18 – 19 per cent) and has commissioned two new coking coal washeries, and renovated existing ones. It plans to add nine more washeries at an estimated investment of ₹4,000 crore.