Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation seeks partners for alumina, limestone ventures

State-owned Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) is planning to seek joint venture partners in alumina and solar plants, as part of a diversification plan.

GMDC over the last one year has been trying to improve the performance across bauxite, power, limestone, manganese and its silica sand business that failed to grow as per their expectations. The miner has appointed three advisory firms — Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for strategic transformation at the group level, AT Kearney for transformation of the power business, and Deloitte as project management consultant.

The company plans to invite a tender for setting up an alumina plant in partnership where they can be assured suppliers of bauxite used as raw material for aluminium plants.

“The company at present has 1.1 million tonnes of bauxite for which there are no buyers. Our first priority would be to sell the non-plant grade bauxite. As part of the plan, we will then hire experts to produce efficient grade bauxite as per industry demand. The tender for setting up an alumina plant will happen after all the improvements,” Roopwant Singh, managing director of GMDC, said.

Similarly, GMDC has around 1,600 million tonnes of limestone overburden (reserves) in Kutch that it wants to provide as feedstock for cement plants. The company is looking at opportunity for a partnership with a cement company where GMDC will be the assured supplier of limestone, used as raw material for cement.

AT Kearney, the consultant working on improving the efficiency of the thermal power plant, has helped GMDC improve the plant load factor of the thermal plant to 65% in Q3FY22 from 14% in FY21. “For a lignite coal plant the tariff is restrictive at Rs 2.46 per unit. We are working on revising the stringent PPA norms with GUVNL, and will look at selling the plant at an appropriate time,” Singh said. Going forward, the company also plans to bring its six additional lignite blocks into operation over the next two financial years. “We will invest Rs 1,500 crore into the development of these mines which will help us to cater to the 50% of Gujarat’s total fuel demand. We currently meet 25% of the total fuel demand of 24 million tonne from existing five mines in Gujarat,” Singh said.

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