Coking Coal Imports From Russia Jump 3-fold In Last 3 Years: Report

Imports of metallurgical coal from Russia have spurted around three-fold in the last three years to around 15.1 million tonnes in 2023-24 mainly due to lower prices while the same from Australia have declined, according to a research firm.

Russia’s share in India’s metallurgical coal imports of 73.2 million tonnes (MT) has risen to around 21 per cent from around 8 per cent in 2021-22, research firm Big Mint said in a statement.

The import of metallurgical coal, which includes coking coal and pulverised coal injection (PCI), from Russia, stood at 5.1 MT, accounting for 8 per cent of India’s total imports of 65.6 MT of the commodity in 2021-22.

Metallurgical coal imports from Russia rose to 11.3 MT in 2022-23, accounting for 16 per cent of 69.9 MT met coal imports in that year. In 2023-24, met coal imports from Russia were 15.1 MT or 21 per cent of total met coal imports of 73.2 MT.

Australia, a major supplier of met coal to India, saw a decline in the commodity’s exports to India. Australia supplied 50.7 MT of met coal in FY22, or 77 per cent of the total imports of India.

Met coal shipments dropped to 42.2 MT in FY22, while market share also declined to 60 per cent.

In the last fiscal, met coal imports from Australia dropped further to 40.4 MT, resulting in a market share of 55 per cent. Iron ore and metallurgical coal or met coal are essential ingredients in steel production. India is dependent on imports to meet its domestic demand for met coal.

According to BigMint analysts, “cost-benefit” is the main reason for the rise in imports of metallurgical coal from Russia. Imports from Russia are costing less to domestic steel players because of low prices, a BigMint analyst said.

However, in the long run, imports from Russia are projected to whittle down as the country is expected to impose an export tax on met coal and an increase in logistics cost, another analyst said.

Speaking with PTI earlier, SAIL Chairman Amarendu Prakash had said the company sourced around 8 coking coal shipments of 75,000 tonnes each (totalling 600,000 tonnes) from Russia in the first two-quarters of FY24.

Tata Steel had also tested Russian coking coal in steel making.

V R Sharma of Jindal Steel and Power (JSP) had said India can fulfil 50 per cent of its coking coal requirement from Russia.

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