Hindalco’s Rs 7,500-cr alumina refinery to start production by Dec

The Utkal Alumina project, a 1.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) alumina refinery plant being set up by AV Birla owned Hindalco Industries at Kashipur in south Odisha’s Rayagada district, is set to go into production by December this year.

“Around 85 per cent of the construction work for the Rs 7,500-crore project has already been completed. Construction work is expected to be completed in another six months. Work is going on in full swing with the engagement of 15,000 labourers,” a senior company official told Business Standard.

Several contractors including L&T and Gannon Dunkerley have been engaged for the construction, while the major engineering equipments needed for the project like boilers, evaporators and turbines have already been procured.

 

“The plant is expected to start its trial production in November, while actual production will begin in December,” said Surya Kant Mishra, project head, Utkal Alumina. Initially, the plant will operate at 50 per cent capacity.

“It would take another six months for the plant to achieve full capacity utilisation,” he added.

Utkal Alumina project has already got clearance for mining of 8.5 million tonnes of bauxite at Baphilimali and Podingamali in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts respectively. The bauxite reserve in the mines, owned by the state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), is estimated at around 200 million tonnes. The company aims to mine 4.5 mtpa initially to cater to the requirement of its alumina refinery.

It may be noted that the Utkal Alumina was conceived in 1992 to tap the huge deposits of bauxite in the area and produce alumina. The project was in the line of fire of the environmentalists and project affected people.

Worried over the implementation of the refinery unit, the two original joint venture partners; Tata and Norsk Hydro, had pulled out of the project earlier, while another foreign partner, Alcan, had also sold its stake in 2007.

Even though the plan was mooted to set up refinery two decades ago, actual work started from 2009, company officials claimed. The company has proposed to send the alumina from Utkal Alumina to its smelter plant at Lapanga near Sambalpur and also to Mahan Aluminium Project in Madhya Pradesh. Both these smelter plants are now under construction and nearing completion.

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