India must rise to meet increasing aluminium demand by promoting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME), as domestic demand for the metal is poised to double to 7.2 million metric tons per annum within the next five years. Such was the commentary offered by National Aluminium Company (NALCO) chairman and managing director Dr. Tapan Kumar Chand.
Addressing the National Aluminum Network Meet 2018, Chand said that the domestic aluminium industry must find ways to meet rising aluminium consumption, lest the country find itself importing sizable quantities of the metal at higher costs.
“In the next 5 years, aluminium consumption in India will be doubled from existing level of 3.6 million tonne to 7.2 million tonne. Unless we focus on aluminium downstream unit, India will be importing around $5 billion worth downstream aluminium products.”
“Moreover, Indian aluminium industry is at the high end of cost curve for production. Hence the need to sustain and increase its margin by producing value-added and high-end downstream products,” continued Chand.
Chand went on to note that aluminium smelters would do well to foster partnerships with MSME’s in order to increase employment in the sector, thereby fostering a strong and vibrant downstream market. Aluminium smelters and their owners should determine needed technology for boosting the downstream sector, he said, noting that such technology could be developed by the Jawaharlal Nehru Research & Development Centre (JNRCD) and used overseas by way of international collaborations. The JNRCD would do well to facilitate such collaborations, he opined.
Among those in attendance for Chand’s remarks were top officials of the Ministry of Mines, representatives from other departments of the Indian government, and major aluminium producers from primary, secondary and downstream sectors. Representatives from private technology and production concerns were in attendance as well.