Odisha govt to vet Vedanta's proposal to expand Lanjigarh refinery

Vedanta's aluminium refinery at Lanjigarh, Odisha, seen from the Niyamgiri Hills. (File photo)
A high-level clearance authority (HLCA) would consider Vedanta's proposal to expand production capacity of its Lanjigarh unit to six million tonnes from annum (mtpa), from its current level of 1 mtpa. 

Vedanta would invest Rs 6,483 crore on expansion work to build capacity at its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha. The proposed project is expected to generate jobs for around 9,494 people in the region.

The company's expansion proposal came up for scrutiny at the 75th meeting of the state-level single window clearance authority (SLSWCA). Since the SLSWCA is empowered to approve projects with an investment size of up to Rs 1,000 crore, the proposal was referred to HLCA, the highest body to clear investment proposals in Odisha.

The SLSWCA approved Vedanta's plan to ramp up the capacity of its co-generation captive power plant to 340 megawatts (MW), from its earlier level of 90 MW.

To fulfil its expansion plan, Vedanta has asked for an additional land allotment. The firm has sought 1645.8 acres of land for this end.

Vedanta's alumina Lanjigarh refinery is located in the economically backward district of Kalahandi and has been struggling to keep its operations afloat due to the unavailability of local bauxite sources. After losing the bid to mine the bauxite-laden but ecologically fragile Niyamgiri hills in 2013, Vedanta has been pleading the Odisha government to source bauxite from local suppliers- an arrangement that is yet to see the day of light.

The Lanjigarh refinery sources bauxite from neighbouring states like Chhattisgarh, besides importing the raw material from New Guinea and Australia through long-term contracts, to feed the project. The plant commenced refinery operations in 2005 and since then, it is running without local bauxite supplies and piling up losses.

Meanwhile, the metals start-up Runaya has received clearance from the SLSWCA for setting up an aluminium dross refining unit at Jharsuguda. The unit will have a capacity of 30,000 tonnes per annum.

Vedanta has an aluminium smelting unit at Jharsuguda with an annual production capacity of 0.5 mtpa. Apart from this standalone unit, the company has developed another aluminium smelter of 1.25 mtpa capacity in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ)) near the Jharsuguda smelter.

Runaya was founded by the sons of Vedanta Ltd's executive vice chairman Navin Agarwal. 

The SLSWCA on Thursday approved five projects worth Rs 381 crore. Among other projects that have received clearances are Indian Oil Corporation Ltd's proposal to set up an LPG bottling plant in Khurda with an investment of Rs 161.59 crore. The proposed unit is expected to provide employment to 79 people.

Shree Malani Foams Pvt Ltd, a company from the house of Century brand of mattresses, was also given clearance to set up a unit to manufacture 4,500 tonnes per annum of polyurethane foam and foam products at Khurda.

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