Reported by Chinmaya Dehuri
Bhubaneswar, Jan 22:
With both the alumina refinery and smelter plant of the Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) facing acute shortage of raw materials, the company has urged the Odisha government to fast track its application and recommend to the Centre for grant of mining leases for three small laterite deposits in Koraput district to feed the plants.
“Three applications of ours have been recommended by the Koraput collector to the Director, Mines. These proposals may be fast tracked for mining lease by January 2014,” said S K Roongta, managing director of VAL in a letter to state chief secretary J K Mohapatra.
The letter said that chief minister Naveen Patnaik had assured the company to provide long term bauxite security to run the refinery plant within two months.
It is to be noted that Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agrawal had met the chief minister on November 26 last year seeking early recommendation of the ML for the company.
The recent rejection of the company’s bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri hill by the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has forced the Vedanta to look for alternative source of bauxite to run the ailing plant.
Presently, the company is running its one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh by sourcing bauxite from states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. However, the plant has not been able to run to its full capacity due to shortage of raw material.
So far VAL has filed 33 applications for alternative bauxite mines but all these are currently pending at different stages of approval. The company has now urged the Centre to recommend the mining lease (ML ) for Majhingamal reserve in its favour.
Besides, VAL also trying to get bauxite through L&T, which has been granted prospecting license for two mines in Kalahandi district. However, the government is sitting over the grant of mining lease to L&T even though the ‘legal opinion’ is apparently in favour of the global engineering giant.
Besides, Vedanta has also drawn the attention of the chief secretary seeking permission to use 600 Mw from its 2400 Mw coal-based power station at Bhurkhamunda near Jharsuguda for the running of its aluminium smelter.
The Sterlite company (which has changed its name as Sesa Sterlite) is providing 600 Mw to Gridco for the last three years. The power was supplied when Odisha needed it the most.
“Since Odisha is now a power surplus state, we may be allowed to use this power for running the new smelter plant to full capacity”, read the letter from the Vedanta official.