The main raw materials for iron and steel industry are iron ore, manganese; scrap iron, flux and fuel. It also requires refractoriness for the construction of furnaces and ferroalloys for deoxidation.
The demand for iron-ore is met by high-grade hematite and magnetite ores with 55-68 per cent ferrous content from Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. Coking coal for fuel is obtained from Jharia, Raniganj, Bokaro, Giridih and Korba coal fields. Similarly flux-grade limestone is supplied from Sundargarh (Orissa), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Durg (Chhattisgarh), Satna (Madhya Pradesh) and Shimoga (Karnataka) districts. Fluorspars is utilised as flux in the basic furnace for steel making.
The important ferro-alloys for deoxidation and for introducing various alloying elements into steel are ferro-manganese and ferro- silicon. Similarly fireclay and basic silica refractoriness are used for lining the blast furnaces.
The country produces enough quantity of these minerals to meet the requirements of the iron and steel industry. Since raw materials used in the industry are heavy, the steel plants are located keeping in mind the proximity of raw materials and the cost of transport. Railway wagons carrying coking coal from Jharia to Bhilai and Rourkela are utilised to bring iron ore to Durgapur, Bokaro and Burnpur plants and vice- versa to reduce the transport cost. In modern steel making the use of electricity is also increasing.
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