Dear Friend,

India, the world’s second largest producer of steel and cement, is in an exciting phase as far as the refractory industry goes.

Indian and foreign steelmakers are busy creating and expanding local manufacturing capacity in line with Govt of India’s National Steel Policy which aims to reach 300 million tonnes of production by 2030. That is growth to the order of 2.5x from current levels. What’s more, buoyed by the experience of recent years, the government has announced a new target of 500 million tonnes of annual steel production by 2047, the centenary of India’s independence.

A capable and dependable refractory ecosystem already exists in India which serves and supports the current refractory needs of Indian steel and cement manufacturers. This ecosystem, while excited about its future growth prospects, is also nervous. The scale of projected growth means Indian refractory makers will have to overcome several challenges including the ability to make large investments in capacity, capability, R&D, value-added services and human resources, without compromising their profitability. There are external factors such as raw material security, exchange rates, freight costs etc. to grapple with too. The role of refractory customers, the government, in fact all upstream and downstream stakeholders, is important to highlight to ensure the Indian refractory tiger leaps successfully into the bright and positive future we all see. And what better platform than IREFCON 2022 to do so.

With a talk by the well-known mythologist Mr Devdutt Pattanaik, the CEO’s roundtable, keynote addresses, case study presentations (newly introduced), technical sessions and workshops, special theme lectures plus an entertaining dinner gala, IREFCON 2022 promises a roller-coaster that is not to be missed.

I hope you have marked your calendars already. On behalf of the IREFCON 2022 Organising Committee, I look forward to welcoming you in November, in ‘The City of Joy’ i.e. Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).

Best,

Sameer Nagpal
Chairman
IREFCON 2022 Organising Committee

Theme

2020 marked the beginning of a decade which is likely to see refractory growth in India at a speed and scale never witnessed before. Various industry estimates peg the refractory market in India to reach 4 million tons by 2030. Not surprising since the Indian steel manufacturing industry alone has set itself a target of 300 million tons of production by 2030. Considering 75% of refractory consumption in India is accounted for by steel, adding cement, glass and manufacturing of other non-ferrous metals to the mix suddenly makes the prospect of a 4-million-ton-refractory-market look very real and reasonable.

Is the current refractory manufacturing ecosystem ready to stand up to this mammoth task of supporting such an aggressive market? The question is even more important in the context of a global pandemic which we are not fully out of. The pandemic has disrupted and reset global supply-chain to such a degree both refractory makers and users are grappling with a business environment characterised by frequent and unpredictable changes. The war in Ukraine has only added new elements to this complex operational puzzle with energy and economic costs hitting levels not seen in decades perhaps.

Despite all challenges, the opportunity is real and begs dialogue and discussion. So let’s find answers to the most pressing questions and much more at IREFCON 2022: The Fourteenth India International Refractories Congress.

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