Nalco told to raise manufacturing capacity to 20 lakh tonnes
National Aluminium Company Ltd ( Nalco), a public sector unit under the Ministry of Mines, has been asked to raise its aluminium smelter capacity to at least 20 lakh tonnes to ensure more of the mineral is utilised within the country instead of being exported.
“I have asked Nalco to prepare a prospective future plan raise capacity to 20 lakh tonnes from the present 4.6 lakh tonnes… Nalco has been exporting alumina for several years while the country keeps importing the mineral. We must utilise the mineral within the country to overcome such a scenario,” said Piyush Goyal, Minister of State ( Independent Charge) for Mines, Coal, Power and New & Renewable Energy, at the sidelines of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Sustainability Summit.
“They had a full- fledged expansion plan, which was formed some years ago, but it never took off and the reason they gave was electricity is too costly in the country. Instead, they went for a tie- up with Iran to export alumina there and produce aluminium in Iran as power is cheaper there,” Goyal added.
The Minister also said that the he will soon start a public discourse to put an end to alumina exports. For making aluminium metal, bauxite, which is the raw mineral, is first refined to alumina, which is also known as aluminium oxide, which gets rid of impurities. Alumina is then fed to aluminium smelters to make the metal.
While Nalco’s aluminium smelter capacity is only 4.6 lakh tonnes, it makes around 20 lakh tonnes per year.
Speaking about India’s renewable energy capacity at the summit, Goyal said that India should start counting its hydro power capacity under renewable energy.
“World over, the practice is to include hydro power as renewable energy. Our officers have prepared a plan for implementing the same in India. We will open it up for public discussion soon… If India counts hydro power, then by 2022, our renewable energy capacity will be 225,000 MW,” he said.
PIYUSH GOYAL, MINISTER OF STATE ( INDEPENDENT CHARGE) FOR MINES, COAL, POWER AND NEW & RENEWABLE ENERGY