Industry Info

Vedanta Group approached PMG for expansion of Lanjigarh alumina refinery

The Vedanta Group has approached the Prime Minister’s Project Monitoring Group (PMG), for environment clearance for expansion of its Lanjigarh alumina refinery Lanjigarh to 6 million tonnes.

The PMG, which has resolved issues in over 90 such stalled projects entailing investments of over Rs 3.76 lakh crore, is expected to take up the Vedanta case soon, sources said.

The Lanjigarh refinery and its proposed bauxite mining source, the Niyamgiri Hills, have been in the midst of controversies since the beginning as the local tribals are opposed to the projects.

Recently, 12 Palli Sabhas, selected by the State Government following a Supreme Court order, rejected the proposal of mining bauxite from Niyamgiri as they consider the hills as their sacred place.

Vedanta and its partner State-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) have been fighting court battles to keep the two projects alive. The refinery is faced with an uncertain future as it does not have any permanent source of bauxite and is at present running only at about 50 per cent of its present 1-MTPA capacity by securing bauxite from the States like Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The refinery’s expansion plan was stopped in August 2010 when the Union Environment Ministry cancelled stage-II forest clearance for mining at Niyamgiri to a joint venture of Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Sterlite Industries, a Vedanta subsidiary. The Ministry had also hauled up Vedanta for undertaking a Rs 4,840-crore expansion without securing environment clearance.

Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal recently indicated that his company is now looking beyond Niyamgiri to source raw material for the refinery and is hopeful of securing an alternate mine soon. Niyamgiri is a very small deposit and the Odisha Government has promised to alternative sources of deposits.     

Source: Orissa Diary