National Aluminium Co. Ltd., or NALCO, kicked off a process to open its south face bauxite deposit near existing Panchpatmali mines in India's Odisha state, Mining Weekly reported May 31.
The new deposit will help the Indian miner to maintain its bauxite output at the about 6.83 million tonnes it achieved during fiscal 2016-17 and support its alumina and aluminum capacity expansion, the report cited a senior government official as saying.
The move is in response to regulatory delays the company is facing at Pottangi, also in Odisha, to tap about 70 million tonnes in bauxite reserves.
In April, NALCO revealed plans to add 600,000 tonnes of capacity to its Angul aluminum smelter in Odisha, up from the current 460,000 tonnes. The US$1.87 billion project is anticipated to be completed in the next three years.
The company is also adding 1 million tonnes of capacity to its 2.3 million-tonne Damanjodi alumina refinery in Odisha to feed its expanded smelters and to merchant export the surplus alumina in global markets, the official added.
The additional raw material for the expansion will be secured through the new mine at Panchpatmali. NALCO hopes to use the bauxite reserves at Pottangi in the long term.
NALCO's corporate strategic plan aims to ramp up finished aluminum capacity to 1 million tonnes by 2020.