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Vedanta gives Modi's aluminium plant offer a miss

Shubhashish  |  Mumbai 

Vedanta Resources does not seem interested in setting up an alumina refinery and an aluminium smelter in Gujarat. It has decided against an expression of interest (EoI) as invited by the state-owned Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC).

GMDC had invited EoIs for a one-million tonne per year alumina refinery and a half-a-million tonne aluminium smelter project in the Kutch region. The bauxite requirement of the project is supposed to be fulfilled by GMDC through its own mines. The last day for an EoI was November 11.

Vedanta Aluminium’s Chief Operating Officer, Mukesh Kumar, confirmed it. He told Business Standard over phone that: “We want to concentrate our energies in Orissa and, therefore, have decided not to go to Gujarat for setting up of the plant.”

He said bauxite deposits in Kutch were ‘very limited’ and would not be able to support a plant larger than one million tonne of alumina refinery capacity. “This limits the scope for further expansions.”

Kumar said the same project was offered to Ashapura Minechem a few years ago. An official in the know said, “Ashapura Minechem and GMDC had signed an agreement a few years back for this plant, but it failed to take off. GMDC then offered the project to the Adani group, but no headway was achieved.”

In October, the state government persuaded Vedanta to set up the alumina project and offered partnership with GMDC. The state also asked GMDC to scrap its project with Ashapura Minechem in favour of Vedanta.

Vedanta, however, sees no possibility of a plant in Gujarat. Kumar said, “We have tied up with GMDC for bauxite supply of 500,000 tonnes and that is about it.”

Vedanta Aluminium is sourcing half of its bauxite requirement from Bharat Aluminium Company’s mines. The rest is sourced from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Gujarat.

First Published: Wed, November 17 2010. 00:39 IST