The National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) has ambitious plans to establish slurry pipelines that will facilitate the efficient transportation of iron ore from its mines to the Nagarnar steel plant, reports Business Standard. Currently, NMDC operates two mechanized iron ore mines in Dantewada district, with the Bailadila project encompassing the Kirandul and Bacheli complexes. These complexes will serve as vital sources of iron ore for the Nagarnar steel plant, which has an annual production capacity of 3 million metric tons.
To reduce dependence on railways for transportation, NMDC is working on a 131-kilometer-long slurry pipeline connecting the Bailadila mines to Nagarnar. The implementation of these pipelines will help overcome challenges associated with the non-availability of railway rakes and limited storage capacity due to the mines' elevated locations.
Amitava Mukherjee, Chairman and Managing Director of NMDC, shared that a 24-kilometer section of the pipeline has already been laid, with an additional 24 kilometers aligned for laying. The remaining 24 kilometers are yet to arrive. Once completed, the entire pipeline system is expected to be ready for use by 2025. The project's estimated cost is approximately ₹2900 crore, which may increase to ₹3500 crore.
NMDC is also exploring the feasibility of two additional slurry pipelines. One would connect Nagarnar to Vizag, while the other would extend towards Raipur. These pipelines aim to enhance economic sustainability and reduce transportation costs for steel makers in Raipur, Bhilai, Bilaspur, Korba, and Raigarh, who rely on NMDC for iron ore supply.
By implementing slurry pipelines, NMDC seeks to optimize the transport of iron ore, making it more cost-effective and viable for local steel manufacturers. Furthermore, NMDC has set a production target of 46 to 50 million metric tons for the current financial year, aiming for growth compared to the previous year's output of 41.22 million metric tons.