Showcause notice to Vedanta unit for violating EPA #goodenws


BS Reporter  |  Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar  February 12, 2013

The Jharsuguda district administration has issued show cause notice to the alumina smelting and power generation unit of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) for construction work in the area violating the provisions mentioned in Environment Protection Act, 1986.

“The construction work done by VAL at its smelter unit and power plant has invited provisions mentioned in section 15 (contravention of the act) and 16 (offenses by the company) of the environment protection act. They have been asked to reply within two weeks,” says Rabindra K Mishra, additional district magistrate of Jharsuguda district.

As per the order, the CEO of VAL Jharsuguda unit has to present before the district administration on February 28 for preliminary hearing at the collectorate. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) had earlier communicated to the state government about violation of the act by VAL.

Vedanta said it has not received any notices and will reply only after getting the physical copy of it.

 

Tribals protest against #Vedanta refinery, demand complete eviction of plant


By Tariq Abdul Muhaimin 12/6/12, Newzfirst

Bhubaneswar – Hundreds of tribals and farmers belonging to several villages and a spectrum of grassroots movements across Odisha on Thursday demonstrated at Lanjigarh, demanding the expulsion of an aluminium refinery owned by British mining giant Vedanta, located at the foot of Niyamgiri Mountain.

Vedanta, a company which by its name symbolizes the sacred texts of Hindu mythology, has been accused of showing complete disregard and disrespect to the sentiments of Dongria Kondh tribesmen who dwell below the Niyamgiri Mountain and consider it as sacrosanct by associating their livelihood to the blessings received from the sacred forest housed by this mountain.

Located at a distance of 600 kms from the state capital Bhubaneswar, Niyamgiri is a place of quiet beauty as the lush green forest which grows on its bed only echoes the sound of chirping birds, winds that blow across the hills and the sound that originates from the Aluminium factory at Lanjigarh.

However, the sound from the Vedanta Alumina refinery (VAL) at Lanjigarh completely subsided on Wednesday as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) announced its closure citing lack of raw material availability.

Lanjigarh refinery shut-down on Wednesday, but tribals demand complete eviction

“We have already started the process of shutting down the alumina plant from the morning. By evening, the one million tonne per annum alumina refinery would completely come to standstill,” Mukesh Kumar, COO of VAL, told reporters on Wednesday.

The plant’s shutdown comes following a three-month closure notice which it had given to the Labour Department of Odisha government on September 5. The notice was served on the grounds of non-availability of raw materials. The refinery needs at least 10,000 tonnes of bauxite everyday to keep the plant operational.

The plant had already witnessed a temporary shutdown in the last three months but was reopened again after a few days, following the availability of bauxite from states like Jharkhand and Gujarat.

Nonetheless, hundreds of villagers from 17 hamlets around the Niyamgiri who marched from their homes towards Lanjigarh on Wednesday to join the demonstration against VAL, demanded the complete eviction of the refinery.

“We are demanding that the refinery must be dismantled completely. It should be locked up and shifted to any other place. Even if the Apex Court delivers a judgment against the mining of Bauxite at Niyamgiri, we doubt that the plant will be shifted” activist Prafulla Samantara from National Alliance of People’s Movements told Newzfirst.

“They will continue their operations by getting raw materials from other states. We cannot allow this. The waters, the forest which is considered sacred by the Dongria and the biodiversity of Niyamgiri are all being affected. They will soon be finished if the plant stays here,” he added.

Tribals and farmers of grassroots organizations such as Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti, Loka Sangram Mancha, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, and Sachetana Nagarika Mancha were part of this demonstration.

We are hopeful that SC will not allow mining here

In anticipation of the final Supreme Court decision which will decide the fate of the contest between the Aluminium refinery and the locals over the authorization to mine for bauxite in the hills, the ten thousand people who gathered at Lanjigarh to demand the lock-up of VAL, said “We are hopeful”.

The Apex Court’s decision on this ruling was repeatedly postponed and the final hearing took place on 3 December. The protestors were awaiting the decision, which they said would come out any time soon.

“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will give a judgment in people’s favor. The plan to mine bauxite on the Niyamgiri Mountain will not succeed. At least we won’t let it succeed” Prafulla said.

The tale of Lanjigarh refinery

The Lanjigargh refinery was built at the base of Niyamgiri and assessed for environmental and social impact without taking into account the intention to mine the hill above for bauxite required to run the plant.

The mineral wealth lying beneath the slopes of the mountain had drawn Vedanta to Niyamgiri. Now, it wants to turn the hillside into a giant bauxite mine to feed its refinery.

However, obtaining permission to mine the mountain has been very difficult for the British giant Vedanta.

The previous ruling by Environment and Forests minister Jairam Ramesh in August 2010 prevented Vedanta from mining the mountain due to violations of environment and forestry acts.

The challenge to this ruling was mounted by the Orissa Mining Corporation, a state owned company with 24% shares in the joint venture to mine Niyamgiri with Vedanta.

Now, the Supreme Court decision which will decide if mining can be done on the Niyamgiri, is awaited.

#Vedanta to restart Odisha refinery from Monday #badnews


 
Plant was shut since last week on bauxite unavailability
Jayajit Dash / Bhubaneswar Oct 20, 2012, 18:33 IST

 
A week after going for a temporary shutdown of its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh (Odisha), Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) is gearing up to restart the plant from Monday, buoyed by bauxite supplies to the tune of around 40,000 tonne from Bharat Aluminum Company’s (Balco) Kawardah mines in Chhattisgarh.

As bauxite availability dried up, VAL was forced to shut down the refinery last Saturday.

 

“Nearly 40,000 tonne of bauxite have reached our refinery premises. We have sourced the raw material from Balco’s Kawardah mines. The bauxite stock will be enough to run our plant for 5-6 days if we operate it at 60-70% capacity, which represents the minimum threshold value of the plant”, a company source told Business Standard.
Balco has two captive bauxite mines in Chhattisgarh- Kawardah and Mainpat, with a combined production capacity of 1.9 million tonne per annum. The Mainpat mine is currently closed.

VAL needed 10,000 tonne of bauxite every day to run the plant at full capacity.

VAL will first start its captive co-generating plant (CPP) to generate steam, necessary for running the refinery. It may be noted that along with shut down of the refinery, VAL had also closed its CPP last Saturday as there was no consumption of steam.

Meanwhile, VAL is eyeing bauxite supplies from Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) after bagging the contract from the state PSU.

“The first bauxite shipment has been loaded by GMDC. We hope to get it within a few days. In all, we will get 90,000 tonne of bauxite from GMDC”, said the source.

The company is also in talks with private firms of Gujarat and Maharashtra that are currently engaged in bauxite exports.

VAL had approached both Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci), seeking ban on bauxite exports. While VAL was struggling to keep its refinery operations afloat for want of bauxite, the raw material continued to be exported by private miners in Gujarat and Maharashtra due to better price realisations.

VAL has not been alloted any mining lease in Odisha and fully depends on externally sourced bauxite to run its refinery. It had entered into a pact with state controlled miner Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) for supply of bauxite from Niyamgiri hills.

However, attempts to mine bauxite at the ecologically sensitive hills were red flagged by the Union environment ministry that had scrapped the Stage-II forest clearance on August 24, 2010.

Around 6,500 people, including 550 employed directly, 5,000 engaged indirectly and 1,000 self-employed in and around the plant depended on VAL refinery for their livelihood. The company claimed to have spent Rs 150 crore on the development of the local area and community.

 

Vedanta’s mining activities in Orissa being financed by public funds


OERC whip on Vedanta
Bhubaneswar : 14/October/2012

The Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) was found illegally sourcing power from Group Company, Sterlite Energy Limited (SEL) causing losses to the tune of Rs 15crores to the Reliance Infra-owned licensed distribution company WESCO in Odisha.


Holding the activities of VAL as “illegal”, the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has directed the Vedanta to cough up the amount due to the DISCOM.

Importantly, the Commission, while disposing off the case, has defined the terms “Open Access’ and “deemed licensee” in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which will have far reaching ramifications.

The Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) aluminum manufacturing unit at Jharsuguda in Odisha which has been notified as a SEZ was sourcing power directly form Group company SEL, Independent Power Plant (IPP) located adjacent to the SEZ through a dedicated 400 KV double circuit transmission line.

Claiming that the VAL-SEZ’s sourcing power from SEL-IPP amounts to Open Access drawl of power, the WESCO, which is the sole licensee for power distribution in the area, demanded cross subsidy surcharge on the quantum of power availed by VAL-SEZ.

The Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL), the sole licensee for transmission business, also raised objection to the SEL-IPP’s “illegal” laying of 400 KV line in their areas of operation. GRIDCO, the sole bulk power supplier, and the SLDC also become party to the case protesting against these activities of Vedanta.

Interestingly, when the OERC construed that the VAL-SEZ’s sourcing of power is Open Access drawl of power and directed the Vedanta to pay the cross-subsidy surcharge to WESCO, Vedanta came before the Commission with two applications seeking approval for PPA between VAL-SEZ and SEL-IPP, and license for VAL –SEZ to carryout distribution business inside the SEZ area.

Vedanta claimed that the SEZ notification has given the promoter the status of deemed licensee. “So, according distribution licensee by the OERC is only a formality.”

It claimed that there is no illegality in VAL-SEZ directly sourcing power from SEL-IPP and it does not amount to Open Access drawl of power. Ridiculously, Vedanta put forth that the individual units of the aluminium plant such as pot lines, carbon plant, cast house etc. are individual consumers of power.

The three-member Commission, comprising Chairman SP Nanda, members B K Mishra and S.P.Swain, rejected the applications of Vedanta and directed the company to pay the cross subsidy surcharge to the WESCO.

“Consequent upon the rejection of this application the applicant is be treated asconsumer of WESCO, the existing DISCOM of the area. As a result M/s. VAL-SEZhas to pay cross-subsidy surcharge to WESCO for Open Access drawl of power from M/s. SEL”, observed the OERC.

While passing the order, last week, the OERC has also made some  adverse remarks about the company

“It has been stated earlier that much before the application for PPA with M/s. SEL and the present application for grant of distribution license were filed, the applicant has been enjoying power in an illegal and unauthorized manner from M/s. SEL through a 400 KV double circuit transmission line.”

Stating that the present application for grant of distribution license is a ploy by which the consumer wants to escape from payment of open access charges, the Commission has observed that this is a matter where the substance should prevail over form – the applicant cannot take shelter under a web of technicalities to subvert the purpose of the Act.

“This is not a genuine application for taking a distribution license for giving supply of electricity to genuine consumers in a particular area to increase competition and efficiency. This is an attempt to avoid payment of open access charges for unauthorized drawl of power from M/s. SEL for a number of years”, remarked the Commission

 

#Vedanta to close Lanjigarh refinery on Dec 5 #goodnews


 

Times of India, Sept 7, 2012
Rajaram Satapathy
BHUBANESWAR: With no bauxite in hand and mines stuck under regulatory issues, the Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) has decided to shut down its refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district. VAL president and Lanjigarh plant’s chief operating officer (COO) Dr Mukesh Kumar on Thursday intimated the state government that the factory was no more in a position to run and would be closed from December 5.
VAL’s decision is bound to send a wrong signal amongst the prospective investors that mineral-rich Odisha, contrary to the claims of the state government, is far from welcoming industries. The VAL staff carried Kumar’s letter addressed to the labour and employment secretary and handed over in the respective department. Copies of the letter were also given to the chief secretary, industry secretary and director of factories and boilers. “Such a big investment in the state is in jeopardy. No one in the government seems bothered. Our people wanted to meet the secretaries, but were told that they had no time,” said a senior VAL official.
Anil Agarwal‘s VAL is the only private industrial house to have invested more than Rs 50,000 crore in Odisha for setting up the integrated alumina, aluminium complex. This included 1mtpa refinery at Lanjigarh due for expansion to 6 mtpa capacity 70 per cent work on which has already been completed, 1.75 mtpa capacity aluminium smelter, 1215 mw captive power plant and 2400 mw independent power plant, all at Jharsuguda. “In retrospect we feel it was a bad decision to go for such huge investments here,” remarked a senior VAL official. Kumar’s letter blamed the state government for not doing enough to provide raw material, bauxite, for the refinery leading to its closure.
“VAL had set up the refinery entailing huge investment in a specific background wherein the government of Odisha had agreed to supply bauxite,” the letter said, adding detail studies were undertaken on various aspects before signing the final MoU on 7th April 2003 for setting up the refinery. “It is only on the basis of the MoUs and agreements with the government of Odisha for supply of bauxite that VAL agreed to set up an alumina refinery at Lanjigarh,” the letter said. Elaborating, the VAL said it had in the past several years has submitted 26 applications to the state government for prospective license/mining lease of bauxite. “Unfortunately none of the applications could be processed and forwarded for allotment of bauxite mines,” the company’s letter stated.
Kumar’s letter highlighted how VAL finding the government not keeping its promise for supply of bauxite had desperately tried to source raw materials from different other places including going for imports at high costs. But nothing seemed helping the plant providing livelihood to hundreds of families run smoothly. “As such, it has become difficult to sustain operations without causing damage to the plant, equipment and machinery. The unit has already incurred financial losses to the tune of more than Rs 2500 crores,” the letter said adding that Lanjigarh factory was built exclusively with ‘low pressure and low temperature technology to treat bauxite available only in the Eastern Ghats and mostly in Odisha.’ The VAL said the prevailing situation has left it with no choice but to take such a ‘painful’ decision to close down the factory as ‘further operation is not feasible’.

 

Vedanta Aluminium to acquire L&T’s bauxite mines in Orissa for $330M


Monday, June 11, 2012

English: Vedanta Nagar Lanjigarh

English: Vedanta Nagar Lanjigarh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BY  Team Vcc
This follows a deal struck in February wherein VAL entered into a tripartite agreement with L&T and Raykal Aluminium Company Private Ltd.

LSE-listed Vedanta Resources’ group firm Vedanta Aluminium (VAL) has struck a deal to acquire Raykal Aluminium Company Private Ltd (Raykal) from diversified conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) for Rs 1,811 crore ($330 million) over a period of time in a milestone-based acquisition, the company has disclosed.

In the first leg of the deal, it has acquired 24.5 per cent of Raykal for Rs 200.7 crore ($36 million).

This follows a deal struck in February wherein VAL entered into a tripartite agreement with L&T and Raykal. L&T holds certain prospecting licenses for bauxite mines located at Sijmali and Kurumali of Rayagad and Kalahandi districts of Orissa. By this agreement the entire bauxite excavated from above mines will be available for the use of Raykal and/or Vedanta Aluminium.

Bauxite is a key raw material used for alumina production. The mines would feed the alumina plant of VAL in the state.

Incorporated in 2001, VAL is a producer of metallurgical grade alumina and other aluminium products, which cater to a wide spectrum of industries.

The firm operates 1 mtpa greenfield alumina refinery and an associated 75 MW captive power plant at Lanjigarh in the state of Orissa. It is increasing the capacity of the Lanjigarh refinery to 5 mtpa.

It has also invested in a 0.5 mtpa aluminum smelter and 1,215 MW captive power plant at Jharsuguda, Orissa. As per its website, it is also constructing 1.1 mtpa aluminium smelter expansion project at Jharsuguda.

Jharsuguda is also the site of 2,400 MW independent power plant being set up by group company Sterlite Energy Ltd.

For Vedanta Resources group, this deal comes as yet another big ticket acquisition in the country. The metal & mining firm which has diversified into oil business among other areas has struck multi-billion dollar deal for Cairn India and has also expanded in the mining field by snapping Sesa Goa few years ago.

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