Bhubaneswar: Vedanta group, India’s largest aluminium maker, has asked the central government to discourage export of bauxite from the country as the domestic aluminium industry is struggling for the raw material.
“Recently we came to know that large scale of export permissions are being given for export of bauxite from Maharastra and Gujarat,” Mukesh Kumar, president of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. (VAL), a unit of the London-listed Vedanta group, said in a letter to the secretary in the ministry of mines.
“The National Mineral Policy 2008 issued by the Ministry of Mines has clearly given guidelines for foreign trade of minerals and recommended export of minerals only if there is no demand in the country,” he stated in the letter a copy of which is with IANS.
“You will appreciate that at this crucial juncture, allowing export of bauxite at the cost of domestic industry by some of the state governments when the domestic aluminium industry is suffering for want of bauxite cannot be justified in the national interest,” stated the letter.
Kumar has cited how VAL’s one million tonne per annum alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district as well as other aluminium industries have been facing difficulty due to non availability of raw materials.
He also has pointed out that no bauxite mine has been opened in Odisha or Andhra Pradesh in last 25 years which are having more than 2.5 billion tonnes of bauxite reserves that is around 80 per cent of country’s reserve.
Narrating the difficulties Vedanta in Odisha has been facing, Kumar has stated that the refinery in Lanjigarh was installed on the basis of a pact the company signed with the state government and after assurance that raw materials would be provided.
“The plant is operating for the last five years on bauxite sourced from other parts of the country as the earmarked mines could not be commissioned till date,” said the letter he sent Aug 24.
The one million tonne per annum capacity refinery of VAL at Lanjigarh, about 600 km from here, is part of the Anil Agarwal-promoted Vedanta Resources.
Set up on an investment of $800 million, it has been running with reduced capacity since it was commissioned in Aug 2007 due to bauxite shortage.