Nalco set to join one million tonne aluminium club in 3 yrs

National Aluminium Company (Nalco) is all set to join the club of one million tonne aluminium producers by 2020. The company has lined up over Rs 20,000 investment to ramp up its aluminium, alumina and power capacities.

Among the major aluminium producers in the country, Hindalco and Vedanta have metal capacities of over one million tonne.

Nalco's aluminium smelter at Angul can now produce optimum of 0.46 million tonne per annum. The company plans to put up a new pot line to its existing facilities which will boost the aluminium making capacity to over one million tonne.

"A fifth pot line with capacity to produce 0.6 million tonnes of aluminium will be added to the existing four aluminium smelting pot lines at Angul. The cost of the project is pegged at Rs 12,000 crore. Though normally, such work would take 3.5 to 4 years to complete, we are trying to complete it within 3 years", said a top official of Nalco.

Down the line, the company has initiated steps to augment its power generation and alumina production to support the metal capacity expansion.

The company has signed an agreement with NTPC to set up a 1400 Mw thermal power plant at Gajamara in Denkanal district, close to its Angul smelter, at a cost of Rs 14,000 crore. Power is a key input for aluminium making.

Similarly, it has got the nod of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to increase the capacity its alumina refinery at Damanjodi in Koraput district by one million tonne. The project would cost about Rs 5,600 crore.

In addition to feeding the new aluminium smelting capacity, the excess alumina would be sold in the global market which is expected to generate additional Rs 200 crore net profit. In fact, after the expansion of aluminium, alumina and power capacities, the company's PAT is estimated to go up by Rs 1000 crore annually.

Meanwhile, the company's bauxite mining and alumina refinery facilities, nestled in forested and naxal infested areas, has posted sterling performance in 2016-17 overcoming the issues relating to locational and technical handicaps. Nalco's mines in Panchpatmali hills, which were the target of naxal attack few years back, produced record 6.825 million tonne bauxite equalling the rated capacity. Similarly, the alumina refinery at Damanjodi operated at 100 per cent capacity for the first time since inception producing 2.1 million tonnes of alumina.

The company is in the process of opening a new bauxite deposit in the south block of Panchpatmali and awaiting the allotment of Patangi mines which has been reserved in its favour. "The allotment of Patangi mine has been delayed due to bureaucratic hurdles. This mine is crucial for our alumina, aluminium capacity expansions", said the official.

Incidentally, Nalco share price with face value of Rs 5 has more than doubled in last one and half years to reach Rs 73.80 at close in NSE today. The company announced 56 per cent interim dividend for 2016-17 recently which is 16 per cent higher than last year.

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