OMC floats tenders to develop Kodingamali bauxite lease

Representative Image.
Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) has floated tenders to start operations from its Kodingamali bauxite lease.

In the first year of operations, OMC, a state-run entity, targets to produce 1.5 million tonnes of bauxite. From second year onwards, the output is set to expand to three million tonnes per annum (mtpa), said a government official close to the development.

The commencement of operations at the Kodingamali mine would mark OMC's foray into bauxite mining. Though OMC has a few bauxite mines in its kitty, yet the mines have not been able to start operations as they lack the regulatory clearances. Bauxite deposits at Karlapat and Sasubohumali are reserved in OMC's favour but these have not opened up for want of environment and forest clearances.

Bauxite mining from Kodingamali is also expected to come to the rescue of alumina units struggling to arrange raw material from local sources, notably the Lanjigarh refinery owned by Vedanta. The Lanjigarh refinery is currently fed entirely by bauxite sourced from other states and also imports. Ever since local tribals nixed the proposed plan of beginning mining operations in the bauxite-laden Niyamgiri hills in south Odisha, Vedanta has been struggling to arrange bauxite to run the refinery. The company has also been pleading with the Odisha government to make arrangements for local bauxite sourcing.

The Kodingmali lease with 81 million tonnes of bauxite reserves could potentially position OMC as a long-term supplier of bauxite like iron ore and chrome ore. Apart from Vedanta, the Andhra Pradesh-based Anrak Aluminium, a joint venture of the Penna Group and Ras-Al-Khaimah Investment Authority (UAE), has turned to OMC for bauxite supplies. Anrak Aluminium has already installed its alumina refinery of 1.5 mtpa capacity at Makavarapalem in Andhra Pradesh, on the promise of assured bauxite supplies from the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC). But, as bauxite supplies ebbed, Anrak Aluminium has sought allotment of bauxite resources of 150 million tonnes. The company has suggested that mines may be allotted to OMC, preferably on the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border to meet the bauxite demand of the firm.

However, OMC's priorities on bauxite supplies have not been firmed up yet. "We are yet to take a call on which industries would be sourcing bauxite from OMC", said the official.

The Kodingamali bauxite lease of OMC is spread over an area of 428.31 hectares (ha) in Koraput and Rayagada districts.

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