India’s Vedanta Resources Plc announced last week that it has garnered state approval to expand its operations at Lanjigarh aluminium refinery to an output of 6 million metric tons per annum. The firm also revealed a deal with Emirates Global Aluminium to supply the new capacity with bauxite ore.
Domestic media reports that the firm is also eyeing 6 GW of stressed thermal power plants to fuel the expanded capacity as well. Per the company’s CEO of alumina and power Ajay Dixit, the current plan is to finish expansion of the 2 million metric ton per annum plant by the close of 2021. The expansion would be fed bauxite thanks to a deal announced last month for EGA’s Guinean operations to supply up to 12 million metric tons of bauxite per year upon full ramp-up of operations.
“While our requirement for bauxite now is 6 mtpa and will be 18 mtpa post expansion, Niyamgiri output is estimated at only 2-2.5 mtpa,” he explained. “We can very well do without Niyamgiri.”
According to industry experts, the expansion is likely to cost approximately Rs 5,600 crore. Odisha industrial authorities say they granted Vedanta single-window clearance for the add-on last year, and that it was up to the firm to pursue other needed approvals.
Though faced with some local opposition from area tribes, Dixit said that the necessary paperwork from the government is now in hand. He charged the opposition with being backed in large part by foreign competitors in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Australia. Vedanta’s continuing focus is on Odisha’s mines, he affirmed.
“Tribal people are very innocent and they follow the leader who they trust,” opined Dixit. “There is no common platform where we can sit on a table and discuss. This leaves a gap for motivated or political objectives.”