Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nalco suffers production loss of over 1 LT of bauxite

Press Trust of India / New Delhi April 21, 2009, 14:14 IST



State-run aluminium major Nalco has suffered a production loss of over one lakh tonnes of a key raw material as mining operations have been suspended since a Naxalite attack on its mines earlier this month.

The mining activities are yet to resume at Nalco's Panchpatmali bauxite mines in Orissa ever since the Naxalite attack on April 12 night, the company's Chairman and Managing Director C R Pradhan told PTI.

Bauxite is a vital raw material used for making alumina, which is refined to produce aluminium.

During normal course of mining, Nalco workers dig out 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes of bauxite from the Panchpatmali mines a day, which is used to produce nearly 4,000 tonnes of alumina and 1,000 tonnes of aluminium.

As nearly 100 workers have not been going to the mines for the last nine days due to a sense of insecurity following the Naxalite attack, bauxite production has stopped completely.

Pradhan, however, said suspension of mining activities would not have any impact on production of alumina and aluminium, as the company has sufficient stocks of bauxite. The CMD refused divulging the available stocks off-hand, but sources said it is for a month

For 2009-10 fiscal, Nalco has set a production target of 1.8 million tonnes of alumina and 4 lakh tonnes of aluminium. Both the targets are over 14 per cent more than what was in the last fiscal.




While admitting to the loss in bauxite production during the last nine days, Nalco's Director, Finance, B L Bagra said it would be compensated within a couple of weeks by increasing output and the number of working shifts.

At present, the company's employees work in two shifts at the mines, which would be increased to three for a few weeks if the need be, he added.

According to company sources, the police have given a green signal to Nalco for starting mining operations, but the workers are still reluctant to resume work.

"They have told us verbally that mining could be started. But there is nothing in writing. The situation continues to be alarming and morale of the workers needs to be boosted," a senior executive said.

In the Maoist attack on the well-guarded bauxite mines of Nalco on April 12 night, 11 CISF personnel were killed. The Naxalites had laid seize on the mines to loot explosives, which are used for blasting operations at the mines.

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