India: Thriveni Earthmovers proposes to set up 24 mn t pellet plant near Paradip
Thriveni Earthmovers Pvt. Ltd., a prominent mine development operator (MDO) in India's iron ore mining space with a global presence, has proposed to set up a 24 mn t per annum iron ore pellet plant at Bhitargarh near Paradip Port in Odisha's Jagatsinghpur district.
Pellets from the proposed plant are intended for the international market as well as the coastal inland markets. The plant would be capable of producing both BF grade (Fe60-65%) and DR grade (Fe65-67.5%) pellets. It should be noted that the pellets will be produced from ore concentrate cake with minimum ferrous content of +63% and alumina content of less than 1.5%.
A 30 mn t conveyor belt has been proposed to be developed to transport the pellets to a special mechanized berth at Paradip port. Thriveni has acquired a stake in the 4.5 mn t/annum Brahmani River Pellets Limited (BRPL) in Odisha that has a dominant presence in the export market.
Domestic & export markets
The dwindling supply of quality lumpy iron ore, along with persistent high demand for Indian pellets from China and other growing steel markets in South Asia and beyond consequent to supply shortage of high-grade Brazilian pellets, sets the perfect context for a greenfield coast-based pellet plant.
Add to this the growing global aversion to sintering due to environmental concerns and rising preference for maximizing the pellet burden per tonne of hot metal (thm) for BF-BoF steel-makers. The buoyant domestic steel scenario after the government's steel policy of proposed expansion to 300 mn t/year in the coming 10-15 years or so projects a strong demand outlook going forward.
24 mn t pellet plant in 3 phases
A 30 mn t/year filtration and de-watering plant has been proposed to be set up for processing iron ore slurry into concentrate blend, or 'filter cake'. The slurry will be received from the mine operator's iron ore beneficiation plant at Deojhar in Odisha's Keonjhar district through a slurry pipeline to feed the proposed pellet plant.
The first phase of the proposed plant envisages pellet production of 8 mn t, with the filter presses and the de-watering screens in place to process slurry into filter cakes with a capacity of 30 mn t per annum.
The second and the third phases envisage expanding the pellet-making capacity to 16 mn t and then to 24 mn t/year respectively.
It is to be noted that the surplus concentrate blend, or iron ore filter cake, is to be sold in the open markets along the coastal belt or exported as deemed fit.
The proposed pellet plant and the iron ore wet-treatment unit have been mooted at an investment of over INR 3,300 crore, while Thriveni's iron ore beneficiation unit at Deojhar was approved by the state government's high-level committee chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in 2020 for over INR 1,400 crore.
As per the feasibility report submitted for environmental clearance by the company, land acquisition for the first phase of the project is likely to take 4 months.
India has an installed pellet capacity of around 90 mn t pa. The country's pellet output stood at around 60 mn t in CY'20, out of which nearly 13 mn t was exported.