MAC: Mines and Communities

Av Birla Group Begins Work On Utkal Project

Published by MAC on 2004-04-14
Source: Economic Times

AV Birla group begins work on Utkal project

Suresh Nair, Economic Times

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Mumbai: The garments-to-aluminium Aditya Birla group has begun work on its three-million tonne per annum green field Utkal Alumina Project in Orissa.

Officials in the Orissa government confirmed that Utkal Alumina International (UAIL) has started rehabilitation and resettlement work at the plant and mining sites.

Officials further said the project which is being set up at Kashipur in the Rayagada district is estimated to cost around Rs 10,000 crore, adding that the company is waiting for the elections to end so as to start construction work at the site.

The company is also expected to begin development of bauxite mines at Bapla Mali which will feed the alumina refinery.

"Aluminium is our core business and we are committed to the Utkal project," Aditya Birla Group, director (non-ferrous) and Hindalco Industries managing director D Bhattacharya said. He added the group is serious about the project and that they intend to take the refinery project forward. Officials from the Orissa government have also said that, the company has already secured all the required permissions from the central and the state governments.

According to the government official, the company is currently maintaining a low profile in the state as the Utkal project had met considerable opposition from the indigenous people in the district. He added that the issues have now been resolved amicably.

The implementation of the Utkal Alumina which is a 100% export oriented project was stalled 3 years ago when police opened fire on tribal protesters at Maikanch village in December '00, killing three people.

Indal, which is a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries, now has management control of the project as it holds 55% in the project following the acquisition of 35 % stake in the project from Norwegian Aluminium giant, Norsk Hydro which held 45% of the equity in Utkal Alumina.

The Norwegian company exited from the project by divesting 10% in favour of Canadian giant Alcan which already held 35% in the project

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