MAC: Mines and Communities

Vedanta on another rampage in India

Published by MAC on 2004-09-17

Vedanta on another rampage in India

Vedanta-Sterlite, the UK-listed company operating mainly in India, has proved even more rapacious in recent weeks than companies several times its size. As well as securing the contract to operate Zambia's biggest copper mine complex, and announcing a potentially massive iron-steel project in Orissa, it's now trying to bag huge bauxite reserves in the Indian "tribal" state of Chhattisgarh.

The one silver lining to this looming cloud is the prospect that the company may be forced to slow down its trespassing onto bauxite rich tribal-forest land, also in Orissa.

Sterlite assured large bauxite mining leases

Business India

September 17th 2004

Raipur, -The Chhattisgarh government has assured the Sterlite group of enough bauxite-rich areas on lease to assist the Rs.73.27 billion ($1.6 billion) group becoming a major player in the aluminium sector.

Chief Minister Raman Singh and Vednata chairman Anil Agrawal met over dinner in London earlier this week and discussed in detail Sterlite's involvement and investment in Chhattisgarh.

"Sterlite group has been working on a major expansion plan at Korba and obviously need a huge bauxite-mining lease. I am planning to offer the bauxite-dominated belt of Sarguja and Kawardha districts to the group," Singh told IANS over telephone from London Friday.

The group has 51 per cent control over the Korba-based Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) and is fast executing a Rs. 40 billion ($ 863 million) expansion plan to become India's number one aluminium producer by 2006.

Balco already has a mining lease of 639.169 hectares till July 2, 2012 in Mainpat in Sarguja district of Chhattisgarh.

Chhattisgarh State Industrial Development Corporation (CSIDC) managing director Shailesh Pathak, who is a part of the chief minister's four-member visiting team, said Agarwal has expressed keen desire to invest enough money in the metal and mining sector in the state.

On its part, "Sterlite has promised to assist the Chhattisgarh government in setting up an Aluminium Park," he added.

The Sterlite group needs the additional lease in its plans to install a new smelter unit with pre-baked technology provided by Guiang Aluminium and Magnesium Research and Development Institute of China. This would increase its production to 350,000 tonnes from its present capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year.

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