State asked to take decision on development of two bauxite deposits

Vedanta Aluminum Ltd and infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro Limited, an engineering and construction major, have made significant strides for collaboration in bauxite deposit development which could bail out the bauxite-starved VAL’s refinery unit at Lanjigarh.

The two groups on Tuesday approached the Odisha government requesting it to take an expeditious decision on development of two bauxite deposits, prospecting licences of which were held by L&T.

Meeting with CM

L&T had got the prospecting licence for Sijimali and Kutrumali bauxite mines in 1992. But two years later after the expiry of the PL, the State government had then denied ML citing that the group had no end-use plant.

Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta Resources, and A. M. Nayak, chairman of L&T, met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with regard to the harnessing of two deposits. Vedanta had entered into a joint venture agreement with L&T in 2013.

“The State government has assured us to give raw material. We could use bauxite deposits of L&T which is under consideration. We have requested the State government to take an expeditious decision,” Mr. Agarwal told mediapersons emerging from the meeting at the State secretariat here.

Similarly, L&T chairman Mr. Nayak said, “we have not only got MoU, we have also deeper relationship together. We work in their projects.”

The meeting assumes significance after Dongria Kandhas, a particularly vulnerable tribal group, dismissed the proposal of mining in Niyamgiri Hill Range in 12 gram sabhas demolishing hopes of Vedanta to secure pit-head bauxite reserve for its Lanjigarh facility.

Prior to that, Vedanta Aluminum Limited had scouted for alternative bauxite sources in the State. Sijimali, which has an estimated reserve of 209 million tonne, and Kutrumali having 80 million tonne reserve are two attractive locations for the group. While Sijimali is situated 50 km from Lanjigarh, Kutrumali is about 80 km from the refinery. In fact, the company had identified 18 reserves (small and medium) in non-forest areas in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts.