Somdeb Banerjee, a top official of Tata Steel for South Africa expects India's steel production capacity to rise threefold between 2010 and 2020 to 179 million ton a year.
The increase in capacity may raise India's import of coal coal to at least 37 million ton in 2012-13 from 31.8 million ton in 2011-12, reports suggest. Reports also indicate that domestic coking coal output may not rise in the future, given India's reserves are biased toward lower-rank thermal coal.
Analysts feel that India's planned steel capacity growth will require significant coking coal imports given that about 770 kilogram of coking coal are required to make one ton of steel.
Some argue that India may take over China as the fastest-growing producer of the metal within the next few years. China has a steel production capacity of around 850 million ton.
This means China's steel-making capacity is unlikely to rise much above 1 billion ton in the next few years, which will limit its need for coking coal supplies.