New Delhi: The union ministry of Steel Friday issued the Steel Scrap Recycling Policy. The policy aims to promote circular economy in the steel sector with scientific collection, dismantling and processing of scrap for processing and recycling of products in an organized, safe and environment friendly manner, to produce high quality ferrous scrap for quality steel production thus minimizing the dependency on imports.

Ferrous Scrap being the primary raw material for Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF) / Induction Furnaces(IF) based steel production, the policy envisages a framework to facilitate and promote establishment of metal scrapping centers in India.

Indian steel industry is characterized by the presence of a large number of small steel producers who utilize scrap with other inputs in EAF/IF for steel making. As on March 2019, 47 Electric Arc Furnaces & 1128 Induction Furnaces are operating in the country and largely depend upon scrap as a raw material to produce steel.

National Steel Policy 2017 (NSP-2017) aims to develop a globally competitive steel industry by creating 300 Million TPA steel production capacity by 2030 with a contribution of 35-40% from EAF/IF route. Although, scrap is the main raw material for secondary sector but primary sector also uses Scrap in the charge mix of BOF to the tune of 15% to improve efficiency, minimize cost of production and other process needs.

There is a worldwide trend to increase steel production using scrap as the main raw material as recycling of scrap helps in conservation of vital natural resources besides other numerous benefits. The use of every ton of scrap shall save 1.1 ton of iron ore, 630 kg of coking coal and 55 kg of limestone. There shall be considerable saving in specific energy consumption also as the same will reduce from around 14 MJ/Kg in BF/BOF route to less than 11 MJ/ Kg in EAF/IF route, i.e. savings in energy by 16- 17%. It also reduces the water consumption and GHG emission by 40% and 58% respectively. Thus, the demand of steel scrap has increased considerably in the past globally from 367 million tonnes (mt) in 2000 to 589 mt in 2017.

The availability of scrap is a major issue in India and in 2017 the deficit was to the tune of 7 million tons. This was imported at the cost of more than Rs. 24,500 crores (approx.) in 2017-18. The gap between demand and supply can be reduced in the future and the country may be self-sufficient by 2030. This is mainly because with the increase in consumption of steel in the recent past and ELVs, the generation of scrap is likely to be increased considerably.

The current supply of scrap is 25 million tonnes from the domestic unorganized scrap industry and 7 million tonnes from import of scrap. There is potential to harness this 7 mt of scrap that is currently being imported from the domestic market itself. This shall require adequate collection centres, dismantling centres shall work in a hub-spoke model and feed to the scrap processing centres. To produce 7 mt more of scrap, the country shall require 70 scrap processing centres each with the capacity of 1 lakh tonnes; this is without disturbing the existing dismantling centres. The 70 scrap processing centres shall require about 300 collections and dismantling centres on the presumption that 4 collecting and dismantling centres cater to scrap processing centre. The 70 scrap processing centre will create job opportunities for 2800 persons.

And when the production of steel rises to 250 MT, as is envisaged in the National Steel Policy, then the requirement of scrap shall rise to 70-80 mt. This shall require about 700 scrap processing centres, that is 700 shredders. These shall in turn be fed by 2800-3000 collections and dismantling centres spread all over the country.

If the country was to produce 70 MT, as expected as per NSP 2017, the employment generation could be in the range of 3 lakh jobs. In addition, there would be skilling of persons, capacity building and training of Ragpickers, kabaddi-walas, aggregators.  Employment would arise from the logistics support that the collection, dismantling and scrapping centres would require to move the material in and out of the centres and to the user industry.

An inter-ministerial coordination committee has been set up with steel secretary as convener and secretaries of road transport & highways (MoRTH), department of heavy industry (DHI), ministry of environment, forest & climate change (MoEF&CC), department revenue and ministry of labour & employment as members to monitor the operationalization the policy.