NALCO to invest over Rs 65,000 crore for new projects

BHUBANESWAR: Buoyed by 106 per cent jump in profit, aluminium giant NALCO is all set to invest over Rs 65,000 crore to launch ambitious projects in the country and abroad, besides undertaking expansion and diversification into power and mining sectors in a big way.

"Investment to the tune of Rs 65,000 crore is proposed to be made for a number of projects, including a greenfield aluminium smelter abroad," Chairman-cum-MD of the Navaratna PSU, T K Chand said.

The company is exploring countries like Oman, Iran and Indonesia to set up the proposed smelter plant with an estimated investment of Rs 20,000 crore, he told reporters adding the location would be finalised after examining factors like availability of low cost power and infrastructure.

The smelter unit is sought to be of 5 mtpa capacity together with 150 MW captive power plant, Chand said adding though NALCO is ready to go for the project alone, it is open to a joint venture if a suitable partner comes forward.

While power is cheap in Oman and Iran, abundant coal is available at low cost in Indonesia. Port facilities would also be a major factor, the CMD said adding the project is likely to take off this year itself as NALCO aims to emerge as a major global player in mining, metal and energy sectors.

Turning to domestic turf, Chand said after getting the much awaited and much needed allocation of Utkal D and E coal Blocks, NALCO is now hopeful of Odisha government's consent for allocation of Pottangi bauxite Mines in Koraput district.

If the company gets Pottangi mines, Alumina Refinery Project of Rs 5,500 crore can immediately be started, the CMD said adding "we have held detailed discussion with the state government in this regard and the response is very positive."

NALCO proposes to set up the 5th Stream of one mtpa capacity in existing alumina refinery at Damanjodi. The project is envisaged with medium pressure digestion technology, Chand said.

As part of its action plan to increase the volume of production, the company has proposed to set up a smelter and power complex at a cost of Rs 22,000 crore in Sundargarh district of Odisha, he said.

Maintaining that Odisha would remain the company's first choice of investment and expansion, Chand said some preliminary clearances have been obtained for the proposed Sundargarh project and NALCO has applied for single window clearance from Odisha government.

A number of ventures have been taken up in Gujarat where the aluminium major is pursuing to set up an alumina refinery with 0.5 mtpa capacity for which detailed Project Report (DPR) has been prepared and talks are on with GMDC for availability of bauxite.

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