India’s Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (Balco) began sheet rolling aluminium again last week. The metal major’s sheet rolling shop (SRS) at Korba closed last August due to aluminium dumping by the People’s Republic of China and the associated drop in aluminium prices, causing the shop to run significant financial losses.
According to the company, minor modernizations were made to and maintenance carried out on the shop’s equipment prior to restarting production. The shop is tooled to make hot rolled coils, hot rolled plates, cold rolled coils and strips, cold rolled sheets, and checkered sheets.
“The SRS resumed production from yesterday (Thursday) with the initial output of 5,000 tonnes,” said Balco’s head of metal business Deepak Prasad. He went on to explain that production would be gradually ramped up over the course of the financial year to a final output of 36,000 metric tons for the entire period. Capacity would eventually reach 100,000 metric tons per annum, he said, but did not indicate a timeframe.
The shop’s return to production also meant a return to work for about three hundred employees as well.
The Indian metal major has been slowly but steadily building up for a significant expansion in production. The firm, which is 51% owned by Vedanta, has committed US$1.5 billion in funds to nearly double overall capacity, from its present nameplate output of 575,000 metric tons per annum to an overall aluminium output of one million metric tons per annum.
As it stands now, a lack of power has hamstrung the plant, preventing it to run at full capacity. However, thanks to winning a nearby coal mine in a recent government auction, coupled with a 1,200-mW power plant that is soon to begin construction, the plant is poised to be able to run at its optimum output level in the next several months.