- Jairam takes dig at Odisha CM, calls it eighth wonder Patnaik has been governing for 14 years without knowing OriyaVedanta faces last gram sabha vote todayVedanta plant: Jayanthi, Deo spar over rights of Niyamgiri tribals12th Gram Sabha unanimously rejects Vedanta's bauxite mining in Niyamgiri
After a unanimous rejection of the proposal to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills by gram sabhas in the Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, the Orissa government is examining the option of providing mineral linkage to Vedanta’s alumina plant through the Sijumali-Kutrumali mines.
If the state government is able to resolve the legal issues around the two mines and expedite the stage I and II forest and environmental clearances, it would be a win-win case. This is because the prospecting lease of the two mines was granted to L&T way back in 1992, but the company could not get a mining lease as its sale-purchase agreement for value-addition in the state — with Alcoa of US and later with Dubal of Dubai — failed to take off. About two years back, L&T entered into a sale-purchase agreement with Vedanta for value-addition. If the state government accords legal approval to the L&T-Vedanta agreement, a mining lease can be granted after which forest and environmental clearances can be obtained.
According to the state government’s policy, value-addition of the mined bauxite has to be done within the state and only the finished product — aluminum in this case — can be exported out of the state.
“We are looking for a way to ensure raw material supply to the plant,” state chief secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra told FE. “We have sought legal opinion on the status of the available bauxite mines in the state,” he added, without divulging any further details.
Once the legal and other approvals are in place, the agreement would be akin to what Vedanta currently has with the Orissa Mining Corporation — to source bauxite mined by it from the Niyamgiri hills to feed its 1-million-tonne alumina plant at Lanjigarh.
While the Sijumali mines (located in the Rayagada district have bauxite reserves of around 245 million tonne), the Kutrumali mines in Kalahandi have reserves of around 40 million tonne.
Meanwhile, the state government has also proposed to lease out laterite deposits to Vedanta to source a part of the required raw material.
“We have recommended the state government to lease