After being shut down for nine days due to lack of bauxite, the alumina refinery of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district resumed functioning on Monday after receiving small quantity of bauxite from Chhattisgarh and was promised supply from Gujarat.
“The refinery plant, temporarily closed on October 13, has opened and re-started operations as we have managed to procure bauxite from Chhattisgarh and Gujarat,” said Mukesh Kumar, VAL Chief Operating Officer (COO).
However, it would take two to three days to resume actual production as it involves a gradual process, he said. VAL has already started its Cogeneration Power Plant (CPP) for steam, necessary to run the refinery.
On Saturday, VAL had also closed this power plant, as there was no consumption of steam.
Stating that the company now had a stock of about 40,000 tonnes of bauxite, Kumar said about 3,000 tonnes of the ore was being received from Kwardha mines of Balco in Chhattisgarh for the last few days.
In addition, the company is going to receive 90,000 tonnes of bauxite from Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC), the COO said, adding the first consignment of 45,000 tonnes is expected to arrive at Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.
“With this we are hopeful of operating about 50 per cent of the one mtpa capacity refinery plant,” he said.
The company requires 10,000 MT of bauxite daily to operate the refinery plant to its full capacity. “This bauxite can feed the refinery for at least 20 days if we operate it at 6O-70 per cent capacity. However, we are trying our best to source more bauxite to run the refinery up to December 5,” Kumar added. Earlier, the company was running the refinery by utilising only 35 to 40 per cent of its capacity, he said adding it is extremely difficult to operate the plant without uninterrupted supply of bauxite.
Sources said Balco has two captive bauxite mines in Chhattisgarh - Kwardha and Mainpat, with a combined production capacity of 1.9 million tonnes per annum. The Mainpat mine is currently closed.
Negotiations are also being held with exporters and mine owners in Gujarat and Maharashtra for bauxite to the Lanjigarh refinery, Kumar said, adding “we are making all efforts to keep the plant running.”
Earlier, VAL had sent a notice to the State Government, seeking temporary closure of its refinery from December 5, due to non-availability of regular flow of bauxite.
The company is also in talks with private firms of Gujarat and Maharashtra engaged in bauxite exports. Closure of the refinery would hit livelihood of about 6,500 people, including 550 employed directly, 5,000 engaged indirectly and 1,000 self-employed in and around the plant, sources said.