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Nalco expansion plan awaits govt nod for Potangi mines


Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, May 12:

The National Aluminium Company (Nalco), a navratna public sector undertaking (PSU), is awaiting the government nod to get the Potangi mines to add the fifth stream to its alumina refinery at Damanjodi in Odisha’s Koraput district.

Nalco Conveyor Belt in Damanjodi

“We have planned to add up one million tonne per annum (mtpa) at the Damanjodi project. Once we get the Potangi mines, we would be able to start the plant,” said Nalco CMD Anshuman Das, who met the Union secretaries of Steel and Mines here today.

The Potangi bauxite mine has mineable reserve of about 70 million tonnes.

The company has plans to go for the fifth stream refinery based on medium pressure digestion technology. The capacity of the stream will be approximately one million tonne per annum (mtpa) and investment will be around Rs 5,000 crore, said Das.

The capacity of the refinery at Damanjodi is set to reach 3.3 mtpa with the addition of one mtpa plant.

It may be noted here that the company has already obtained the approval of the state government’s High Level Clearance Authority to set up a new 0.5 mtpa aluminium smelter and 1,260 MW captive power plant (CPP) at a cost of Rs 16,450 crore at Kepse in Sundargarh district.

Nalco CMD also expects to get the Panchabatmali bauxite mines renewal lease within two months.

Anshuman Das, CMD, NALCO
Anshuman Das, CMD, NALCO

“Regarding Panchabatmali bauxite reserve at north and central block, we should be able to get the mining lease within two months. The state government is expected to recommend to the government of India for the mining lease within a month or two,” said Das.

The lease period of Panchabatmali would expire in November this year. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has extended the one-year temporary working permit (TWP) of aluminium major Nalco by three months for operation at the central and north block of Panchpatmali mines.

The 12-month TWP, granted in 2012, was to expire on November 16.

Nalco is hopeful that the Utkal-E coal block, with a reserve of about 67.49 million tonnes will be operational by December 2014 at an estimated cost of Rs 338 crore.