National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) has been granted a mining lease for the Pottangi Bauxite Mines in Odisha, India. The deposits are in proximity to the company’s 2.275 million tonne alumina refinery.

The lease, which was issued by Odisha’s Department of Steel & Mines, covers an area of about 4295 acres for a period of 50 years.

Nalco’s chairman and director Dr Tapan Kumar Chand said now is the firm’s turn to live up to the expectations of both Centre and State, as well as to the people of Odisha, by following through with expansion, investment and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

He said NALCO’s expansion plans, which included investing US$836 million on the addition of a fifth line to its Odisha alumina refinery, greatly depended on this new source of bauxite.

NALCO has already obtained permission from Odisha’s High Level Clearance Authority (HLCA), the state’s highest body to approve investments.

The Pottangi mines have an estimated bauxite reserve of 75 million tonnes and are also expected to fuel another refinery planned at Damanjodi. This refinery is expected to have an annual nameplate capacity of 1 million tonnes.

The new mines will also help NALCO fund a US$44.8 million CSR initiative that was submitted to the Odisha government in relation to the Pottangi bauxite reserves. The initiative is to be implemented at Damanjodi, Angul, and other areas around the state.

The Pottangi reserves join the Panchpatmalli Hills reserves as NALCO’s only bauxite deposits under leasehold. Panchpatmalli Hills is estimated to have 300 million tonnes of bauxite ore awaiting extraction. NALCO has solidified its presence at Panchpatmalli Hills until 2020 under the provisions of the amended Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act.

NALCO also recently signed an MOU with Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) to jointly explore the possibility of setting up an aluminium smelter in Iran, with supply of alumina from NALCO’s refinery in India.

The MOU also envisages a tolling arrangement with existing smelters in Iran for producing aluminium from alumina supplied by NALCO. Inter alia, the MOU proposes to look into other business collaborations as well.

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