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Vedanta had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Odisha government which assures supply of 150 million tonnes of bauxite for its processing facility in the state. Photo: Reuters
Vedanta had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Odisha government which assures supply of 150 million tonnes of bauxite for its processing facility in the state. Photo: Reuters

Vedanta seeks alternative mine for Lanjigarh refinery

Vedanta says it is working with the Odisha government for allocation of bauxite mines elsewhere

New Delhi: After failing to get local gram panchayats’ nod for mining bauxite in Niyamgiri hills, Vedanta Resources is now engaging with the Odisha government for allotment of mines elsewhere besides considering procuring bauxite from alternative sources.

The Niyamgiri hill area is one of the sources in Odisha for supply of bauxite to the firm’s alumina refinery at Lanjigarh. Vedanta has already made it clear that it would not consider developing any bauxite resources, including Niyamgiri mines, without the invitation and consent of local communities.

Vedanta had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Odisha government which assures supply of 150 million tonnes of bauxite for its processing facility in the state.

“We are actively working with the Odisha state government to agree the allocation of other bauxite mines. The company is also considering sourcing bauxite from alternative sources to support the existing and expanded refinery operations," it said in its annual report.

The government earlier in the year had turned down Vedanta’s mining proposal in the area after the verdict of 12 gram sabhas. All the 12 gram sabhas held in July-August last year had unanimously expressed opposition to the mining operation in the hills, saying it would violate their social, cultural and religious rights.

The tribal villages, located on the hill slopes, are part of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts. They were selected after a Supreme Court order directed the Odisha government to conduct meetings of gram sabhas for deciding whether mining will impact the religious, community and cultural rights of the villagers, especially their right to worship Niyam Raja, the deity.

With regard to the expansion project at Lanjigarh, which has 1 million tonne per annum (mtpa) capacity, Vedanta said its fresh application for environmental clearance was under consideration.

“In the meantime, expansion plans are on hold," Vedanta said.

However, following resumption of operations at Lanjigarh refinery in July 2013, the facility ramped up well and had delivered 0.52 million tonnes production through to March 2014. In last quarter of 2013-14 fiscal, it had 91% capacity utilization.

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