The central-sector National Aluminium Company (Nalco) had a sigh of relief as the Odisha government finally allocated the Potangi bauxite mines in its favour. Nalco had been struggling to get the approval of the state government for the mines reserved for it since 1992.
The Nalco chairman-cum-managing director, TK Chand, had recently disclosed that the company has lined up Rs 30,000 crore investments keeping the Potangi bauxite deposits in mind. “The day we will get the state government’s clearance for the mines, we would go ahead with our programme to ramp up capacity of our Damanjodi refinery by 1 million tonnes with an investment of Rs 6,000 crore and to set up a smelter along with a captive power plant in Sundergarh district with a capital cost of Rs 24,000 crore”, he had said.
Potangi mines, which has a promised reserve of 75.22 mt of bauxite, has been reserved for Nalco by the Union ministry of mines. The state government had kept the clearance on hold on the plea that the PSU was not doing enough CSR activities in the tribal-dominated backward Koraput district. It was following the new CMD’s assurance to the chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, that the company has committed to spend R300 crore for the periphery development programme and the mines got the clearnces, said sources.