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Web Exclusive | August 2013

Bauxite mining projects fail to take off in Odisha

SK Roongta, Managing Director of Vedanta Aluminium said despite having deposits of the finest bauxite and other minerals, Odisha does not have a single new mine in the last 30 years.

In recent times, Vedanta Resources has been facing stiff opposition from locals in the Niyamgiri hills for mining a 72 million tonne bauxite deposit in the Kalahandi district. The tribals in 12 villages in the area oppose mining because they consider this mountain range as divine.

In the past, six major bauxite projects in odisha were thwarted by some or other roadblock. These six, which are the gateway to about 30 percent of India's bauxite reserves of 3.5 billion tonne, all lie in the eastern belt of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, passing through some of the poorest parts of the country.

Media reports indicate that every aluminium company wanting to secure raw material, be it from the private sector (Hindalco, JSW, etc) or the public sector (Nalco), suffered defeat. The reasons have differed: from religious significance to rehabilitation, from perceived intrusion to policy revision.

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