Odisha decides to give certain laterites deposits to Vedanta

Bhubaneswar: The State government today announced in the state assembly its decision to provide certain laterites deposits to Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL).

“The state government has decided to provide certain laterites stone mines to Vedanta which requires bauxite for its refinery at Lanjigarh,” the State’s Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick said in the Assembly while replying to a question of Congress member Chandrasekhar Majhi.

Stating that VAL has been told to sign agreement with the State government to go ahead with exploration of laterites stone mines, the minister said the company would use technology for conversion of the mineral.

Laterites are soil types rich in iron and aluminium, formed in hot and wet tropical areas.

Earlier, VAL had urged the state government to secure alternate bauxite supplies and also to fast track its applications for three small laterite deposits in Koraput district for mining lease.

VAL urgently required alternate raw material supplies after being denied permission to mine bauxite atop the ecologically sensitive Niyamgiri hills by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). The company was running its one million tonne refinery at Lanjigarh by sourcing bauxite from states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The laterite mines were considered to be a short-term breather for VAL’s refinery. VAL had also filed 33 applications for alternative bauxite mines currently pending at different stages of approvals. These included Karlapat (south), Sasbahumali, Gandhamardhan and Ghusramali.