The Environment Bench of the Supreme Court has condoned National Aluminium Company Ltd’s fault in its mine lease renewal proceedings.

The Bench had heard Nalco’s plea on Friday and waived off a violation of the Supreme Court guidelines on lease renewal application timeframe.

The Bench’s decision paved way for resumption of its operations on a temporary work permit as well as restoration of full-scale working at its refinery. According to Nalco sources, operational normality could be restored by Wednesday.

“There are a few formalities to be gone through before operations at Panchpatmali mine in Koraput district of Odisha could be restarted. Operations at the Damanjodi refinery (in the same district) have been cut to one-fourth for the past four days. It can also be scaled up to the normal levels by the middle of next week,” said a senior official.

After the mining lease expired on November 16, operations were suspended by Nalco.

In view of dwindling stock pile of bauxite, the Nalco management had early this week shut down three streams out of a total four at its refinery. Its smelter at Angul has, however, not been affected so far.

Nalco sources also said that the PSU was now in a position to meet its long-term alumina export commitments as also feeding its smelter.

It has, however, dropped the plan of a December spot sale of alumina of 30,000 tonnes. Nalco occasionally offloads small quantities of surplus alumina through spot sale auctions.

jayanta.mallick@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 8, 2012)
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