Denied permission to start mining activities atop Niyamgiri hills in Orissa’s Kalahandi district, Vedanta Group has proposed to the State government to allocate it an alternative source of bauxite for running its 1 mtpa alumina refinery plant.

This was stated by Vedanta’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mukesh Kumar who on Friday met officials of the State-owned Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC). The State-run public sector held the lease over Niyamgiri bauxite reserve.

“Since the Centre had denied permission to start mining project at Niyamgiri, we proposed the State government to allocate some other bauxite sources close to our refinery,” Mr. Kumar told reporters.

The company has no problem to extract the raw material from mines located 30 to 40 kms from the plant site, he added.

Stating that Niyamgiri was not the sole source of bauxite for Vedanta’s refinery plant, Mr. Kumar said the State government in its MoU with Vedanta in 2004 had committed to provide 150 million tonnes of bauxite.

“Niyamgiri reserved only 78 million tonne of bauxite. Niyamgiri alone could not fulfill requirements of the company. Anyway, we have to take raw material from some other mines,” he pointed out.

The company put forth its proposal before the State government after the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest denied it permission for mining at Niyamgiri.

The denial was based on Saxena committee report which found violation of Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Environment Protection Act, 1966 and Forest Rights Act, 2006.