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Indian Supreme Court allows Vedanta to bid for Nalco's surplus alumina

The Indian Supreme Court allowed Vedanta Ltd.'s foreign units to participate in the tenders for the surplus alumina of state-run National Aluminium Co. Ltd., or Nalco, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 14.

The top court's decision affirmed an earlier ruling by the High Court of Odisha state, which Nalco challenged as its tenders were meant for exports. Nalco exports its surplus mostly to customers in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and China, the news agency said.

At that time, the lower court accepted Vedanta's position that it should be eligible for the tenders as it operated from an export-oriented zone, the report said.

Should Vedanta win the tender, it can use the alumina at its Jharsuguda aluminum plant in Odisha, Bloomberg added.

While Vedanta owns an alumina refinery and a smelter in Odisha, the company lacks enough bauxite supplies after its request to locally mine the material at its Niyamgiri operation was rejected, the newswire noted.

Vedanta plans to boost its aluminum smelter production capacity by 30% to 3 million tons in the coming years, the report said.

Nalco exported 1.24 million tons of alumina in its fiscal year ended March 2019, while its refinery has a production capacity of 2.28 million tons per annum of alumina.