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Dr Hardarshan Valia talks industry sustainability

The Elephant in the Room: Sustainability in our Industry

Interview with Dr Hardarshan Valia by Eurocoke Summit Conference Director, Patrick Britton

In preparation for the 12th annual Eurocoke Summit, conference director, Patrick Britton, sat down with Dr Hardarshan Valia, a long-time expert to discuss the main challenges and opportunities facing the coal and steel industries at the moment.

What are the biggest headline issues you see facing the steel and coke industries for 2016 and beyond?

We are in a crisis situation! And before getting into all the specifics of prices, supplies and demand, we need to address the elephant(s) in the room. The challenges facing the met coke and coal industries, and these are opportunities too, relate to: first the Paris Climate Conference and second sustainability and recycling.

Could you elaborate?

How will this affect the industry? We all care about the environment! For us and for the future generations – but it also impacts business. There are immediate costs and long-term costs. I think it is important we begin to address these issues - especially, we want to highlight new technologies and research to address topics such as CO2 sequestration. As for recycling and sustainability, it is very important at this juncture to view sustainability as key to our survival. We have to focus on things like feedstocks, recycling, taking the byproducts from steelmaking and re-using them. Society is looking at us to make a difference in what we do – and here is our great opportunity.

So beyond the climate issues and the recycling, what other themes are important?

I did not get to talk about carbon sequestration! This is the great opportunity. The research is showing it as a value – but we have to find someone to talk about it. We have to get the industry to address carbon capture, utilization and storage. If they do not, the road could get increasingly bumpy. Best to find someone who can speak to the industry without being antagonistic.

And back on the recycling – what I like about that focus is to talk about something we don’t address often… with feedstock recycling, you cover ironmaking, waste from coke making, environmental benefits, carbon emissions, and so much more.

I know you have many more thoughts on what to include…

China. India. Other innovative viewpoints. Markets. There are so many great topics. But you’re getting them.