Bhubaneswar: Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) Saturday temporarily shut down its refinery in Odisha, ahead of its December 5 scheduled closure, as it could not arrange for the minimum quantity of bauxite required to continue operations, a senior company official said.
“There was no other choice but to shutdown the plant because we could not arrange the required bauxite,” VAL president Mukesh Kumar told. The plant will resume operations only when we arrange bauxite stocks for 10-15 days of operations, he said.
Last month, the company had informed the state government about shutting operations by Dec 5 but due to non-availability of bauxite it was forced to do so ahead of the schedule.
The one-million-tonne per annum alumina capacity refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district, about 500 km from here, had been operating at reduced capacity since its commissioning in August 2007.
In recent weeks the operation at the plant had reached to a critical level and in the past three days it was operating at about 25-30 percent capacity, Kumar said.
Kumar said although the company had been running the plant despite incurring heavy losses by sourcing bauxite from different states, the bauxite availability for the plant was nil since past few days.
Set up with an investment of $800 million, VAL requires three lakh tonnes of bauxite per month to run the refinery at full capacity.
Vedanta wants to mine bauxite from Niyamgiri Hills located near its refinery but its clearances are mired in litigations and protests by residents.
It has also applied for several other bauxite reserves in the state, but none of them have been materialised so far. VAL is an associate company of the London listed Vedanta Resources.