Durgapur steel plant has been built up with the financial and technical assistance of a Consortium of British companies in 1956 (production started in 1962) at Durgapur along the Damodar river, about 160 km north-west of Kolkata. Proximity of the Jharia coalfield, the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and Kolkata city and port are the major advantages enjoyed by the plant.
The steel plant obtains iron ore from the Bolani mines in Gua region of Orissa; coal from Jharia and Barakar coalfields; limestone from Birmitrapur and Hathibari areas (Sundargarh district); manganese from Jamda (Keonjhar district); fresh water from the Damodar river through a channel; and electricity from DVC power stations.
The plant consists of 1 coal washer (capacity 360 tones/hour), 4 batteries of coke ovens (78 ovens each), 1 sinter plant, 4 blast furnaces (capacity 5,310 tones of pig iron/day), 9 open hearth furnaces, 2 blooming mills, 1 billet cum sleeper bar mill, 1 medium section mill, 1 merchant mill, I sleeper plant, 1 wheel and axle plant and 1 skelpmill.
The plant specialises in the manufacture of alloy steel and railway items like wheels, axles and sleepers etc. and light structural’s and construction materials, scalp and billets. It’s by- products include crude coal tar, ammonium sulphate, crude benzol etc.
The plant had initial capacity of producing 1 million tons of steel ingots which has been enhanced to 1.6 million tons of steel ingots, 3.6 lakh tones of pig iron and 2.6 lakh tones of alloy steel. In 1996-97 it produced 1.14 lakh tones of pig iron, 12.48 lakh tones of crude steel and 10.93 lakh tones of saleable steel.