India’s Odisha state floats tender to develop bauxite lease

The Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) has floated tenders to start operations from its Kodingamali bauxite lease in the state.

In the first year of operations, OMC, a state-run entity, targets to produce 1.5 million tonnes of bauxite. From second year onwards, the output is set to expand to three million tonnes per annum (mtpa).

The start of operations at the Kodingamali mine would mark OMC’s foray into bauxite mining. Although OMC has a few bauxite mines in its reserves, they have unable to start operations as they lack the regulatory clearances.

Bauxite deposits at Karlapat and Sasubohumali in Odisha are reserved in OMC’s favour, but these have not opened up for want of environment and forest clearances.

Bauxite mining from Kodingamali is also expected to come to the rescue of alumina units struggling to arrange raw material from local sources, notably the Lanjigarh refinery owned by the Vedanta group. The Lanjigarh refinery is currently fed entirely by bauxite sourced from other states and also imports.

Vedanta has found it tough to source bauxite from Odisha ever since local tribals nixed the proposed plan of beginning mining operations in the bauxite-laden Niyamgiri hills in south Odisha. The company has also been pleading with the Odisha government to make arrangements for local bauxite sourcing.

The Kodingmali mine lease with 81 million tonnes of bauxite reserves could potentially position OMC as a long-term supplier of bauxite like iron ore and chrome ore. Apart from Vedanta, the Andhra Pradesh-based Anrak Aluminium, a joint venture of the Penna Group and Ras-Al-Khaimah Investment Authority (UAE), has turned to OMC for bauxite supplies.

However, OMC’s priorities on bauxite supplies have not been firmed up yet. The Kodingamali bauxite lease of OMC is spread over an area of 428.31 hectares (ha) in Koraput and Rayagada districts of Odisha.

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