Bhubaneswar: Government state-run National Aluminium Co Ltd (Nalco) has got an approval for a new bauxite mining lease in eastern India, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
The new mine in Potangi, a few kilometres from Nalco’s existing mine in the coastal state of Orissa, is estimated to have bauxite reserves of over 70 million tonnes, Orissa’s steel and mines secretary, A.M.R. Dalwai, told Reuters.
B.L. Bagra, finance director at Nalco, said the company would now need the clearance from the federal government after which operations could take 3-5 years to begin. Nalco, India’s third-largest aluminium maker that also exports alumina and aluminium via much-watched global tenders, currently produces 4.8 million tonnes of bauxite annually from its mine in Panchpatmalli.
“It was very necessary to have Potangi at this stage,” Bagra said, adding the Panchpatmalli mine could last only for the next 20 to 25 years.
In September last year, Nalco, which produced 361,262 tonnes of aluminium in 2008-09, had got the union government’s nod to explore new mines in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state, estimated to have bauxite reserves of 85 million tonnes.
Bagra said the company was also looking for 50 million to 60 million tonnes of bauxite deposits in the western state of Maharashtra.
“We have identified the deposits and we are preparing mining lease applications,” he said.