Bhubaneswar: Union minister Pralhad Joshi Thursday said state-run National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO) will invest around Rs 30,000 crore for its ambitious expansion and diversification projects in the next six to seven years, which will help achieve the Centre’s goal of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
Addressing the 41st foundation day function of the Navaratna PSU here, the coal and mines minister said the growth plans of the company are in line with the country’s objective to become self-sufficient in production of the metal.
“NALCO has made ambitious business growth plans for which the company will be investing around Rs 30,000 crore in the next six to seven years (by 2027-28),” the minister said.
He said Rs 22,000 crore will be spent on the expansion of the company’s aluminium smelter unit and construction of a 1400-MW feeder captive power plant (CPP) in Angul.
Over Rs 7,000 crore will be used for the fifth stream refinery, development of Pottangi bauxite mine and Utkal D & E coal blocks.
Joshi said the Centre is keen to utilise natural resources optimally for the welfare and development of Odisha and extending full support to the mineral-rich state so that the production of strategic raw materials continues without any interruption.
“To expedite mineral production in the state, we have approved the proposals to allot two iron ore blocks to Odisha Mineral Corporation and one mine to Odisha Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd on the request of the state,” he said.
Relaxation in norms for auction of mineral blocks is being considered to expedite the procedure, he said.
The Centre will amend rules to ensure that production of minerals will become seamless and non-serious entities are barred from participating in the process.
Notably, an auction regime was introduced by the Ministry of Mines for allotment of mineral blocks in India through an amendment made in the MMDR Act in 2015.
As per the procedures made through this amendment, leases for 46 mineral blocks were getting expired in March 2020, the majority of them were situated in Odisha.
To keep the mineral productions uninterrupted, the central government brought the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, in January last year that broadly mandated the state governments to take action for auction of the blocks so that the new leaseholders could be decided before the existing contracts get expired.
Joshi said NALCO, in association with the Odisha government, is also setting up a world-class aluminium park in Angul to encourage the development of downstream and ancillary industries in the state.
This will enhance employment in the area and give a boost to local entrepreneurship, he said.
The announcement of the expansion plans of NALCO came three days after Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote to Joshi to expedite the process of capacity expansion for its aluminium smelter.
Pradhan urged him to take necessary steps for increasing NALCO’s smelter plant capacity to 1 mtpa from existing 0.46 mtpa.
The PSU major is undertaking a brownfield expansion project for its aluminium smelter plant.
The company contributes to 32 per cent of bauxite production, 33 per cent of alumina and 12 per cent of aluminium in India, official sources said.