Days after restarting its refinery in Odisha's Kalahandi district following a seven-month shutdown due to a bauxite scarcity, Vedanta Aluminium Limited is optimistic about getting the ore from the state itself.
"If aluminium industries cannot survive in Odisha, having huge bauxite reserves, then they are not feasible anywhere in the country," Vedanta Aluminium COO Mukesh Kumar said after meeting Odisha's Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra in Bhubaneswar on Monday.
"Therefore, we hope that VAL will get the required raw material from the state," Mr Kumar said.
VAL, a unit of Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources, restarted its 1 million tonne per annum alumina refinery at Lanjigarh on July 11. Bauxite for the plant, which is operating at 60 per cent capacity, is being procured from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.
Mr Kumar's optimism stems from the recent submission of a report of an inter-ministerial committee of the state government to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The report of the panel headed by Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya is on the long-term linkage policy for supply of ore to local industries such as VAL's alumina plant at Lanjigarh.
Mr Kumar said the company was hopeful of a positive response from the committee's report.
"In our presentation to the ministerial committee on February 15 this year, we had clearly mentioned about our plans as well as the alternative sources of bauxite to keep alive the refinery. We hope that the committee's report will be positive," he said.
VAL's refinery is adjacent to the Niyamgiri Hills, where the bauxite is proposed to be mined.
The Supreme Court had on April 18 directed that the views of the local residents be taken on whether to allow mining on the Niyamgiri hills. Mr Kumar declined to comment about the ongoing Gram Sabhas being held by the state government as per the direction of the apex court.
The tribal residents of Serkapalli village in Rayagada district unanimously rejected mining at the Niyamgiri hills, asserting their religious and cultural rights at the first Gram Sabha.