Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) said it expected to receive bauxite supplies from group firm Bharat Aluminium Company's (Balco) Kawardah mines in Chhattisgarh in a week.
The mines, to open on Tuesday, promise 120,000 tonnes of bauxite supplies every month. VAL revived its one-million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh (Kalahandi district) on
July 11. The refinery was shut since December 5 last year as bauxite supplies dried up. “The refinery is currently operating at 60 per cent capacity on bauxite obtained from external sources. We are going to scale it up gradually,” said VAL president and chief operating officer Mukesh Kumar.
Earlier, VAL had urged the state government to expedite processing of pending applications of state-controlled Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), especially those bauxite leases falling under non-forest areas. These applications are either at PL (prospecting license) or ML (mining lease) stages.
The small bauxite deposits where OMC has applied for a ML are Maliparbat, Karnopodikonda, Ballada, Kakrimali, Hatimali and Majhingamali in Koraput district, Kisunmali in Kalahandi district and Choranimaribhata-A, Choranmaribhata-B, Siadimala-east and Siadimali-west in Rayagada district. These applications are pending at various levels. The state government had formed a three-member inter-ministerial committee headed by finance minister Prasanna Acharya to give recommendations on ore linkages for industries operating in the state.
“VAL is hopeful that the government will make alternative arrangements for bauxite for us,” said Kumar.
He declined to comment on the gram sabhas being held to decide the fate of the proposed bauxite mining project on top of the Niyamgiri hills. "I have nothing to say. The project belongs to OMC,” he stated.