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Vedanta gets bauxite from Odisha, hopes to get more

Sep. 5, 2018 - Encouraged by supply of bauxite from the state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), The Vedanta Limited is optimistic about completion of its refinery expansion project.

Though the aluminium major has been managing to run its 2 mtpa refinery since 2007 by importing bauxite from other states and abroad, the company for the first time received the raw material from OMC's Kodingamali mines recently, Vedanta Limited's External affairs (Head) Sanjeev Kumar said.

The raw material is available to the company from the bauxite rich Odisha almost 10 years after its successful operation. The Vedanta got bauxite from Kodingamali mines, located about 152 km from its refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha's Kalahandi district.

The company has been importing bauxite from countries like Brazil and Guinea and other states like Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to feed its 2 mtpa refinery, he said. The company could utilise only 1.2 mtpa capacity of the refinery due to raw material shortage despite obtaining Consent to Operate (CTO) for 2 mtpa, he said.

The company has meanwhile began to enhance capacity of the refinery from 2 mtpa to 4 mtpa and subsequently to 6 mtpa by 2021. The Vedanta has so far spent about Rs 5,000 crore on expansion project, he said.

"Though OMC at present meets only five percent of our bauxite requirement, we look forward to get more raw material by taking part in auctions of other mines in Odisha," he said.

The Vedanta is optimistic about getting about 3 million tons of bauxite, which is 50 percent of its need, to run the 2 mtpa refinery from the OMC by year end, he said. He said the company would require about 12 million tons of bauxite after expansion of its refinery to 4 mtpa.

Asked whether Vedanta still hopes to get bauxite from Niyamgiri hills, Kumar said "we are not looking for Niyamgiri now. It is insignificant for us. However, the company will like to participate in any auction within Odisha."

He said the company started its refinery expansion project not depending on Niyamgiri or any other mines. Odisha has about 700 million tonnes of bauxite reserves, while Niyamgiri holds only an estimated 88 million tonnes. Many reserves in the state remain unexplored.

To a query as to how Vedanta could compete with other players in the field, Kumar said "relatively our efficiency is very high for which we continue to survive despite buying bauxite at high price. Our finished goods are much better than the others due to technology we adopt."

Located on the foothill of Niyamgiri, Vedanta claimed to have brought positive effects in the life of the local population in terms of health care, education, sustainable livelihood and infrastructure development, a company official said.

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