Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, part of the London-based Vedanta group, is likely to operate its refinery in Lanjigarh, Odisha, at full capacity from December, after a year marked by low utilisation and a shutdown.

S.K. Roongta, Vice-Chairman and head of Vedanta group’s aluminium and power businesses, told Business Line on the sidelines of an event here that in October, the company operated the 1-million-tonne-a-year refinery at 65-70 per cent capacity. In the next one month, it could reach full capacity, he added.

Currently, the refinery gets two-thirds of its bauxite requirement of 3 million tonnes (mt) from Bharat Aluminium Co Ltd and Gujarat Mineral Development Corp. Vedanta had signed an MoU with the Odisha Government for supply of bauxite. But the State could not supply the raw material.

In December last year, Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta had shut down the Lanjigarh refinery for want of raw material. Before running out of bauxite inventory and stopping operations on December 5, 2012, Vedanta had operated the plant at 20 per cent capacity for three days. It had also closed down the 75-MW captive coal fired-power plant.

Vedanta is facing shortage of alumina for its Jharsuguda smelter, also in Odisha. Currently, it is importing alumina, used in making aluminium, to feed the smelter, which is running at around half capacity.

Vedanta had proposed to buy surplus alumina from National Aluminium Co Ltd (Nalco), which exports the commodity. “The proposal could fetch savings of $60-$70 a tonne at export price parity, which can be shared by both,” said Roongta.

Nalco reportedly exported alumina at $335 a tonne in June on free-on-board basis to a Dubai entity. Roongta hopes that Nalco will find “perfect business sense” in the Vedanta proposal.

> jayanta.mallick@thehindu.co.in

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