In an effort at shoring up the feedstock stream into Hindalco’s Aditya smelter, Aditya Birla Group’s Utkal Alumina International Ltd has petitioned the Indian government for permission to double the alumina output of its Odisha refinery to 3 million metric tons per annum.
According to domestic media, Utkal delivered its petition to the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, which is expected to consider the request at its next meeting on February 5th.
The expansion, which is expected to cost between US$629 million and US$786 million, will consist of several phases, including a US$157-million debottlenecking of the refinery at Kashipur in Rayagada district, bringing that refinery’s overall alumina capacity to 2 million metric tons per annum.
A key consideration driving the refinery’s planned output increase is the fact that it is fueled by the firm’s Baphlimali bauxite mines. The mines, which will feed the Utkal refinery for a quarter century at the contemplated new output, produce low-silica bauxite, which reduces the firm’s dependence upon a steady supply of affordable caustic soda.
An increased alumina output will be a boon to Hindalco’s Aditya smelter, which gets the lion’s share of its alumina from the Utkal refinery. At present the smelter churns out 360 thousand metric tons of primary aluminium per annum, and is powered by a 900-mW captive power plant. The site also houses an aluminium flat-rolled products facility that produces rolled and extruded aluminium as well as aluminium wire rods.