By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, September 22, 2017: The state owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) has floated tenders to begin operations at its Kodingamali bauxite mine lease hold area.

OMC has worked out a plan to produce 1.5 million tonnes of bauxite in the very first year. Subsequently, from second year onwards, the production will go up to three million tonnes per annum (mtpa), officials here.

In fact, this is first time OMC will mine bauxite even as it had a couple of bauxite mines for quite a long period. It could not operate in these bauxite mines due to regulatory issues. For instance though bauxite deposits at Karlapat and Sasubohumali are reserved in OMC’s favour but these have not opened up due to absence of environment and forest clearances.

Bauxite mining from Kodingamali is expected to go a long way to bail out Vedanta’s alumina refinery at Lanjigarh refinery, which is virtually starved of bauxite. The refinery is currently fed entirely by bauxite sourced from other states and also imports.

Vedanta had entered into an agreement with OMC to source its bauxite requirement from the bauxite-laden Niyamgiri hills in south Odisha. But the local tribals strongly opposed mining operations at Niyamgiri hills forcing OMC to abandon the planned mining operation,

Vedatna has been pleading with the Odisha government to make arrangements for local bauxite sourcing. The Kodingmali 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.

Besides 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. Anrak Aluminium has already installed its alumina refinery of 1.5 mtpa capacity at Makavarapalem in Andhra Pradesh, on the promise of assured bauxite supplies from the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC).

The Kodingamali bauxite lease of OMC is spread over an area of 428.31 hectares (ha) in Koraput and Rayagada districts.