Vedanta Aluminium to raise capacity to 2.5 million tonnes

December 6th, 2011 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Dec 6 (IANS) Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, a subsidiary of the globally-diversified mining group Vedanta Resources PLC, will be expanding its smelting capacity to 2.5 million tonnes in less than a couple of years with an investment of Rs.60,000 crore.

At present, the smelting capacity of Vedanta Aluminium is around 1.6 million tonnes per annum.

The expanded smelters will start operating from the next financial year, and in less than couple of years the total integrated aluminium capacity of Vedanta Aluminium and BALCO, the two group companies, will go up to over 2.5 million tons.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the 6th International Conference on Aluminium (INCAL), which began here Tuesday, Vedanta Aluminium managing director S.K. Roongta said it was exciting for him to steer 2.5 million capacity with captive power of 6,000 MW when the current consumption of aluminium in the country is only two million tons.

Vedanta is at present operating one million tonnes refinery at Lanjigarh, half a million tonnes smelter at Jharsuguda and about 275,000 tonnes smelter at BALCO.

“We have aluminium production of about 775,000 tonnes at this moment. We are putting up another smelter at BALCO which is almost getting ready with capacity of 325,000 tonnes and four lines in new smelter plant at Jharsuguda of 1.25 million tonnes,” he said.

The total investment in expansion of smelting capacity at BALCO, allied power plant of 1,200 MW, smelter capacity at Jharsuguda, new power plant of 2,400 MW as well as expansion at Lanjigarh will be Rs.60,000 crore.

“We have already spent more than 75 percent of it. The capacity is almost ready for operation, especially smelter capacity and power plants.”

Roongta said buying bauxite from open market was adding to the cost but the company was trying to minimize the cost by efficient plant operations and reducing power consumption and use of other ingredients.

“It is not a permanent solution to buy bauxite from various sources and incur so much transportation and logistic costs. We have to have our own bauxite. We will find some solution. I am certain solutions will emerge,” he said referring to plenty of bauxite reserves in Odisha and Chhattisgarh but the ongoing problems in mining.

Roongta said once the full capacity expansion was operational, the company would require almost 15 million tonnes of bauxite every year. At present, it needs three million tonne for one million tonnes refinery.

Replying to a question, he said Vedanta would be looking at owning coal assets and participate in the auction of new coal blocks.

He said importing coal would not be economically viable either for the companies or the country.

“We are sitting right in the midst of the coal reserves, where coal can be mined at the lowest cost in the world. Government must find solution to at least hinterland plants through higher supplies from local coal mines,” he added.

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