Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Dec 31:
With all its efforts to source bauxite from the Niyamgiri hills for its one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh going in vain, Vedanta Resources is now banking on laterite deposits in the state to run the ailing plant till bauxite is made available.
“We are very encouraged to be assured that the government would take all steps so that mining lease could be granted in two months for small and laterite mines, which can serve as a breather for our alumina refinery on a short term basis,” said Anil Agrawal in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently.
However, it is unlikely to get the required laterite deposits from small mines of the state as there is no policy for leasing out such areas at the moment.
The state government has also assured Vedanta that it can source bauxite through L&T from Sijimali and Kutrumali bauxite mines in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts to ensure assured supply of bauxite for its refinery.
Vedanta Aluminium has applied for lease of 113 hectare of laterite- rich land in villages of Panabara, Sagabari and Arotokoni under Kashipur block of the Rayagada district. The Koraput deputy director of mines (DDM) has, in the meanwhile, forwarded the application to the district administration. The administration now has send its recommendation to the directorate of mines, sources said.
“Presently, there is no policy for leasing out laterite- rich land to private companies. We need to formulate a policy for granting lease to any companies,” an official of the state’s steel and mines department said.