Smithers Apex: What are the best practices to assimilate in high standards in coke quality monitoring for the industry?
Dr. Hardashan Valia: When it comes to Total Quality Management, (TQM) steel industry has been ahead of coal industry by leaps and bounds. Steel industry has been using SPC, SOP, PDCA, FMA/FMEA, PDCA techniques for a long period of time. Although few coal companies have been using some of theTQM techniques, its high time that they all need to embrace it fully. One way to expedite it is that the steel industry makes it a mandatory requirement from the coal company. It should also give a helping hand to guide them through the process.
Smithers Apex: Given your expertise in the industry, why do you think coal blending is important in cost reduction measures for the current market?
Dr. Hardashan Valia: Dwindling of good quality coking coals and rising cost of high quality coking coals coupled with drive towards low cost-high quality operation demands an urgency on understand and adopting a right pathway of coal blending. Needless to say that the overriding concern is also to conserve the limited resources good quality coals. Taboo that one needs only high quality coals for making good quality coke is shattered by new technologies (e.g. SCOPE21 already practiced in Japan) and blending practices adopted in developing nations which uses poor quality coals in varying amounts.
Smithers Apex: Considering the movement in the Global MetCoke market where do you foresee the biggest changes in the coming years?
Dr. Hardashan Valia: China and India, both large consumers of coal/coke are also signatories to Paris Climate accord. Hence, they will have to make changes related to emission control. That will nudge them towards level playing field with the others and also costs of coke/coal productions to be compatible with other producers. Also expect in roads by non-traditional suppliers; hence, they will be exerting a bigger role in supplying coke and coal to the steel industry.
Smithers Apex: What do you look forward to hearing during the MetCoke World Summit 2017?
Dr. Hardashan Valia: How are steel and coke/coke markets evolving under current trying conditions? What is industry doing to address green house gases and emission controls? To know more about new sources of met coal, China and India plans with respect to coke/coal, and the coal cost reduction measures being implemented in the industry.