The company has recently completed the construction of a one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district and is currently engaged in establishing a 0.5 million tonne aluminium smelter and 1215 Mw captive power plant (CPP) at Jharsuguda.
It has already invested about Rs 25,000 crore (Rs 250 billion) in these two projects and intends to make additional Rs 35,000 crore (Rs 350 billion) investment to scale up the operation of both the units over next four years.
The investment plan of the company is in tune with its aim to have 2.6 million tonne aluminium capacity under its belt by 2013. Of this envisaged capacity, the Jharsuguda unit is expected to contribute 1.6 million tonne while the rest one million tonne will come from Korba plant of the company.
Similarly, the CPP capacity at Jharsuguda is projected to be ramped up to 3,600 Mw while the capacity of the alumina smelter at Lanjigarh will be expanded from one million tonne to 5 million tonne by this time.
The new investments also include setting up of a 2400 Mw independent power plant also at Jharsuguda.
"Once this is done, the Jharsuguda plant will be the world's largest single location smelter with a capacity to produce 1.6 million tonne of aluminium", says P.K. Panda, vice-president, Mines, Vedanta Aluminium. Dubal in United Arab Emirates is currently the world's single largest site aluminium smelter with installed capacity of 0.9 million tonnes.
At Jharsuguda, the company is nearing completion of the first phase of the smelter project comprising 2,50,000 tonnes of aluminium capacity. Of 288 pots to be installed in the first phase 216 pots have been commissioned and the balance will go on stream by June this year. Similarly, out of 675 Mw of captive power required in the first phase, 540 Mw (4X135 Mw) capacity has been commissioned.
Though the construction of the company's one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh is complete since October, 2007, the company is currently operating only one stream of refining process, out of two streams installed there, due to problems in sourcing bauxite. "We are operating at 50 per cent of capacity at Lanjigarh, producing 60,000 tonne of alumina per month, pending operation of captive bauxite mines in Niyamgiri Hills nearby", Panda added.
To keep the unit running, the company is procuring bauxite from all over the country and in the process, incurs a loss of half a crore of rupees every day on present scale of operation. The mining in Niyamgiri had run into rough weather with litigation over forest, environment and tribal issues. However, with the Supreme Court recently clearing the mining project, the company expects to start bauxite mining in joint venture with Orissa Mining Corporation.