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Clearances delayed,Orissa to give Vedanta bauxite from alternative sources

With the environment ministry holding up the final clearance for Vedanta’s bauxite mining project from Niyamgiri mountain...

With the environment ministry holding up the final clearance for Vedanta’s bauxite mining project from Niyamgiri mountain in Kalahandi district,the Orissa government today assured company chairman Anil Agarwal that it would provide bauxite ore from its other mines till the company received central clearance.

Agarwal,who met chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his officials this evening at the State Secretariat was assured that the company would get the requisite bauxite ore of 3 MT per annum for its 1 MT per annum alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi till it secured the ministry’s approval to mine the biodiverse-rich Niyamgiri hills. “Orissa has the 4th largest bauxite deposit in the world. So supplying bauxite should not be a problem for Orissa,” the chief minister reportedly assured Agarwal during the meeting. The industries department has been asked to look into the problem immediately. During his meeting,Agarwal said that he was incurring huge losses by sourcing bauxite for his Lanjigarh refinery. Niyamgiri mountain,the foothills on which the alumina refinery is situated has 75 million tonnes of bauxite deposit,enough to run the Vedanta project for another 25 years.

Vedanta had received in-principal approval in December 2008 for 800 acres for bauxite mining at Niyamgiri hills,out of which 350 acres were in the reserved forest area. Though the Rs 4,500-crore project has got in-principle approval,the ministry said the bauxite mining project in Orissa would be given a final clearance only if after the ministry does not find any violation of norms under the Forest Conservation Act and locals have agreed to the project after their rights are settled.

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First published on: 22-01-2010 at 01:16:19 am
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