KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) – Hit by delays in securing a new mine, integrated aluminium producer, National Aluminium Company Limited (Nalco), has started the process to open a new bauxite deposit near its existing Panchpatmali mines in Odisha.
The opening up of the new deposit along the south face of its existing mining operations will enable the Indian company to maintain its bauxite production at 6.825-million tons achieved during the 2016/17 financial year, a senior government official says.
In 2015, the 70-million-ton Pottangi bauxite reserves, also located in Odisha, had been reserved for allocation to Nalco, but “bureaucratic hurdles” resulted in delays in handing over the new resource to the company, the official says.
Hence opening up of the south face bauxite deposit at Panchpatmali is an imperative for Nalco’s alumina and aluminium capacity expansion plans, he adds.
The integrated aluminium producer has already firmed up plans to install its fifth potline at its smelter in Angul, Odisha. The new potline will add 0.6-million tons a year of aluminium capacity, ramping up the company’s total capacity to one-million tonnes. The $1.87-billion project is scheduled for completion in the next three years.
In tandem, the company will expand its alumina refinery capacity, close to its mines, to add another one-million tons a year of alumina production to its existing output of 2.275-million tons a year, to feed the expanded capacity of its smelters and to merchant export the surplus alumina in global markets, the official says.
In the short term, the raw material security for its expansion plans will be met through the opening of new mine at Panchpatmali, but in the long term, Nalco hopes to be using the bauxite reserves at Pottangi.
The official said that the long-term raw material security had to be ensured by the government, as Nalco’s corporate strategic plan aimed to achieve a finished aluminium metal production target of one-million tons a year by 2020.