Unable to secure bauxite despite concerted efforts, the Vedanta group today said it has shut down its one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.

“We are forced to close down the Lanjigarh refinery due to depletion of stock of bauxite. Despite efforts over the past three months, we were unable to ensure sustainable supplies,” CEO of Vedanta Aluminium Mukesh Kumar told PTI over phone.

“For the last few days, we ran the unit at around 20 per cent of capacity incurring heavy loss,” Kumar said.

The bauxite stock was ‘almost zero’, a senior Vedanta official said.

The mining conglomerate, which runs the refinery of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL), had given a closure notice to the Odisha government on September 5 on shutting operations from December 5, citing severe shortage of bauxite as the main reason.

Stating that 10,000-11,000 tonne of bauxite was required per day for normal functioning of the refinery, Kumar said the company explored several sources outside Odisha, but failed to secure more than 3,000 tonnes daily.

Though the company’s top management met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and chief secretary several times for bauxite for the refinery, no solution could be found, he said.

Voicing doubt over immediate revival of the plant, another company official said that the 75 MW captive power plant set up in Lanjigarh would also have to be shut down in view of the uncertain scenario.

A company official had said earlier that the shutdown of the refinery was likely to affect about 3,000 workforce directly and around 4,500 indirectly, although “we are not contemplating any retrenchment at the moment”.

The company has invested about Rs 50,000 crore in the refinery along with an aluminium smelter of 1.5 mtpa and a captive power plant in Jharsuguda.

(This article was published on December 5, 2012)
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