Coal shortage forces NALCO to cut alumina production

September 8th, 2008 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 8 (IANS) Coal shortage forced the state-owned National Aluminium Co Ltd (Nalco) to cut back alumina production at its refinery in Orissa for about three days last week, a company official said here Monday. “The refinery at Damanjodi did not receive any coal since Sep 1 this year from its main supplier Mahanadi Coalfields Limited,” the unit’s executive director P.K. Mohapatra told IANS.

This led to a cut in alumina production as the company was forced to shut down one of its three operational boilers Thursday after its coal stock of about 10,000 tonnes got exhausted, he said.

The company normally maintains a buffer stock of 40,000-50,000 tonnes in the Damanjodi unit but has been unable to do so recently due to inadequate supply, he said.

Coal supply resumed Sunday and all three boilers are now operational but the alumina production lost due to last week’s shut down is about 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes, Mohapatra said.

“We expect to recover this shortfall by the end of this month,” he said.

“We received two rakes of coal yesterday (Sunday) and are expecting to receive one more rake today (Monday). More coal is expected to arrive in the next few days,” he said.

Over the last few months, coal shortage has been affecting alumina production at Nalco, India’s second largest aluminium producer.

In July this year, two of the three boilers at the Damanjodi refinery were shut down for about three days.

In June, Nalco was forced to shut down one of the seven power units that feed its smelter at Angul, also in Orissa, due to lack of coal.

Company officials said that although production at the Angul plant has remained unaffected so far, the coal stock in the unit is at a critical level.

“What we have can only last for three or four days,” Arun Sharma, executive director of the Angul unit, said.

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