BHUBANESWAR: The capacity of Vedanta’s alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district will be expanded from one million tonne per annum (mtpa) to two mtpa in the next one year.
This was announced by Chairman of Vedanta Group Anil Agarwal after a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Tuesday. Stating that additional 20 lakh tonnes of ore will be required for the plant’s expansion, Agarwal said the refinery will ultimately have a capacity of six mtpa.
Odisha Government has assured the company of a lasting solution to the problem of raw material for the refinery, he said. After the tribals of the area said ‘no’ to mining in Niyamgiri hills, the company has no other option but to get ore from the three mines of L&T to run the plant in the State, Agarwal said. Vedanta, which had set up one mtpa refinery plant at Lanjigarh seven years back, is facing acute shortage of bauxite and presently importing the raw material from other States and countries to feed its plant. The company had to shut down the plant for some months due to shortage of bauxite in 2012.
The Vedanta chief said the State Government has assured the company to expedite the grant of lease for the two bauxite reserves at Sijimali and Kutrumali mines in south Odisha’s Rayagada and Kalahandi districts respectively for which L&T had been given prospecting licence way back in 1990.
Earlier, Vedanta had entered into a joint venture with L&T, which held prospecting licence for Sijimali and Kutrumali mines at an estimated bauxite deposit of about 300 million tonnes. Vedanta has also approached Odisha Government to provide two laterite mines to partially take care of raw material requirements of the refinery.
As a result of the acute shortage of ore, the company’s smelter plant at Jharsuguda is operating at only 25 per cent of its capacity.