In order to remain among the world’s cheapest producer of aluminium, Vedanta Ltd. is working toward having its own captive bauxite and coal mines. Such was the message conveyed by the Jharusguda plant’s incoming Chief Executive Officer Chhavi Nath Singh to domestic media late last week.
“We are still importing 40% of our bauxite requirement from outside the country,” Singh explained. “Once we have a captive mine, we will be able to meet our need and produce the cheapest aluminium in the country.”
In addition to pursuing its own bauxite resources, Singh said a recent strike at its external coal supplier and the consequent drop in coal availability has led to an increased emphasis on obtaining its own in-house supply of coal for its captive coal-fired power plants.
“We will certainly go in for having a captive coalmine through auction process in coming days,” Singh advised.
With the market share for plastics steadily declining, Singh predicted a growing demand for aluminium in coming years. Though demand growth has been essentially level in recent months, he said demand in food packaging and railcar production will be among the first to see significant growth.
Singh is taking the reins at the Jharusguda plant as it is running at 1.4 million metric tons per annum of its nameplate capacity of 1.75 million metric tons per annum. Though the difficulties in obtaining raw materials poses a problem for the plant, Singh said bringing the plant up to full capacity is his first goal.
Singh also said the plant has longer term goals in mind as well, especially regarding downstream production.
“We have a plan to establish an automobile accessories making plant at Jharsuguda,” he explained. “While we have applied for 250 acres of land for it, the Government is yet to hand over it. The land is awaiting forest clearance now.”