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Balco set to become world power in aluminium

Published by MAC on 2007-08-06

Balco set to become world power in aluminium

Hindustan Times

6th August 2007

Chhattisgarh-based Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (Balco) is all set to become the world's largest producer of aluminium from a single location.

In a major expansion programme, the aluminium giant has set up a target to produce one million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in the next three years.

The Vedanta Group, owning a 51 per cent equity share and management control of Balco, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chhattisgarh government on Wednesday late evening, in the presence of chief minister Dr Raman Singh and Chairman of Vedanta Group Anil Agrawal, to set up an additional capacity of 6.5 mtpa smelter plant in Korba district. The company currently produces 3.5 mtpa aluminium.

Talking to Hindustan Times the CEO Balco, Pramod Suri said, "After the completion of the Rs 8100-crore expansion plan, the Balco would become the leading producer of aluminium in the world". Presently, the world's largest aluminium and alumina producer remains Russian Aluminium Companies located at Bratsk (9.8 lakh tonnes per annum) and Krasmyarsk (9.6 lakh tonnes per annum), and Balco would surpass the two to become a largest producer, opined Suri. * [see note]

"For Chhattisgarh it would be a matter of pride to see a world record on aluminium production from a single location created in Balco", additional chief secretary P J Oomen, Commerce & Industry, told *HT*.

The company will also set up a Cancer Hospital & Research Centre at Saddu in Raipur for which a foundation stone was also laid today. It would be a 100 bedded hospital.

Balco, which has a large integrated aluminium construction complex at Korba, about 225 km from the state capital, has got a 20-year lease for mining bauxite in around 625 hectares of land in Mundadadar, Keshamrada, Radda and Semsatha villages of Kawardha district.

The aluminium major was incorporated in 1965 as a state-run firm. In 2001, the Indian government sold 51 percent of Balco's equity to Sterlite Industries for Rs.5.51 billion.

* Editorial note: Until the Russian consolidation of Rusal and SUAL is completed, Rio Tinto, with its impending acquistion of Alcan, may lay claim to being the world's biggest alumininum producer.

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