Bhubaneswar: In a major setback to Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL), The State Government on Tuesday said that it is not in a position to supply bauxite to VAL, immediately, after the company had sought permission to shut down its refinery at Lanjigarh due to scarcity of raw material.
Chief Secretary B K Patnaik after attending the High Level Clearance Authority (HLCA) meeting on Tuesday said that “the State Government is not ready at the moment to supply bauxite to Vedanta’s refinery at Lanjigarh.”
Though the state has a vast reserve of the mineral, it is not able to explore it due to different reasons including forest clearance and mining plan, Patnaik added.
The move came after VAL President Mukesh Kumar informed the state authorities that it would shutdown the refinery December 5 as bauxite was not available.
It is noteworthy to mention that the one-million-tonne per annum alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district has been operating at reduced capacity since it was commissioned in August 2007. The company has been running the plant despite incurring heavy losses by sourcing bauxite from different states.
Set up on an investment of $800 million, VAL requires three lakh tonnes of bauxite per month to run the one-million-tonne per annum refinery at full capacity. However, due to bauxite shortage, the company has been running the refinery at 40-50 percent of its capacity for the past several weeks.
Vedanta wants to mine bauxite from Niyamgiri Hills located near its refinery but its clearances are mired in litigations and protests by residents. Vedanta had also applied for 26 other bauxite reserves in the state, but none of them have been materialized so far.
Source: 360 NS