Operations resume in Bhilai Steel Plant after a week’s shutdown

भिलाई Bhilai (BIA): Operations at the Bhilai Steel Plant which suffered a major accident on June 12, 2014, is gradually limping back to normalcy.

The plant which is state-owned Steel Authority of India’s largest and most profitable unit, has managed to restore around 35% of its production level, a week after the incident when all but one of its furnaces had to undergo a shutdown.

Bhilai Steel which is the sole supplier of rails for the Indian Railways, operates seven blast furnaces with the largest one, BF number 7, running uninterrupted since the accident. While BF number 6 has been under capital repairs since April 1, 2014, the remaining six had been producing nearly 13,500 tonnes of hot metal per day before the accident. Following the accident, furnaces 1 to 5 had to be shut down as a precautionary measure and are now in the process of being revived one by one. Production has reached a level of around 4,500 tonnes with three of its six blast furnaces up and running. “The process of normalising the production units of Bhilai Steel Plant affected by last week’s incident is now being expedited.

The process of reviving the remaining three blast furnaces number. 3, 4 and 5 picked up further pace on Friday.

All safety measures are being taken in the process of normalising production in the plant. The two furnaces with coal dust injection facilities are likely to be revived within the next few days,” a SAIL official said. “Restarting a furnace is not easy. It takes a few days to stabilise and reach its optimum production level,” the official added. With hot metal production from blast furnaces increasing, production from other facilities of the Plant including the coke ovens, sinter plants, steel melting shops and rolling mills that are being readied for normal operations, would also be progressively increased.

While the plant has suffered a production set back due to the mishap, officials are hopeful of restoring it soon. Industry experts feel despite suffering a drop in production, Bhilai Steel Plant will still have time to revive and restore its target production level for FY-15 in the remaining three quarters of the year.