London’s Vedanta Resources plc’s project in Odisha may have won some breathing room as the state’s government has sealed a deal to allow state-owned firm Odisha Mining Corporation to access the bauxite reserves in Kodingamali bauxite mines.
Vedanta has had difficulty obtaining a steady supply of raw materials for Lanjigarh alumina refinery after the Niyamgiri bauxite mining project was shuttered. The project was successfully scuttled by protests from local tribes to the Indian Supreme Court. As a result of this closure, the joint venture between Vedanta and Odisha Mining was necessarily ended, leading to Vedanta’s calls for a source to replace what it had been receiving from Niyamgiri.
Those calls may be answered as a result of a lease signed on Wednesday by Odisha Mining for two bauxite mines in Kalrapat and Sasubahumali, located about sixty miles from Lanjigarh. Although these mines have been held in trust for Odisha Mining, the firm has obtained long-awaited forest and environmental clearances, which paved the way for last week’s signing and a possible start to bauxite mining in the near future.
A steady source of bauxite ore may lead to a production increase at the Lanjigarh refinery. The plant is producing one million metric tons of alumina per annum at present, which is roughly half its current nameplate capacity. According to Vedanta, the refinery’s installed capacity can be doubled to four million metric tons, which is the capacity level for which it has government permission to produce.