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NALCO Looking Beyond Aluminium - Mr TK Chand

Metal News - Published on Tue, 16 Jul 2019

Image Source: SteelGuru
National Aluminium Company Ltd is taking steps to secure a future beyond aluminium. In an interview to ET, the company’s chairman, Mr TK Chand, said a special business vertical has been created to look for lithium reserves that the company can acquire. Nalco is also venturing into production of high-end alloys for space vehicles and electric cars and will take up merchant mining and mineral trading as part of a plan to insulate the company from the vagaries of the aluminium cycle, Mr Chand said.

Q - Nalco is venturing into new territories. Can you share some of your plans and initiatives?

A - Nalco is building on its expertise in bauxite mining and aluminium production to create a company of the future. For this, we have set up a two new business verticals to focus on lithium-ion and merchant mining. The lithium vertical will spearhead our efforts to acquire lithium and other strategic mineral assets globally. This includes our three-way joint venture Khanij Videsh India (Khavil) with Hindustan Copper and MECL. Apart from scouting for assets in the ‘lithium triangle’ or ‘ABC’ (Argentina, Bolivia and Chile), we will also engage in mineral trading. While India does not have proven reserves of lithium, we are also, for the first time, exploring prospects of sourcing lithium in Gujarat and Rajasthan by investing INR 15-20 crore in a pilot project.

Q - Besides strategic minerals, are you looking at producing alloys?

A - We have initiated efforts to move into high-end alloys through a INR 4,500 crore joint venture with Mishra Dhatu Nigam (Midhani), a defence ministry undertaking. The proposal has been cleared by the board and by the ministry. We are in the process of finalising the joint venture agreement, following which we will incorporate the company. This will produce high-end alloys used in space automobiles, railways and electric vehicles. Aluminium is a metal of the future. Three factors work in its favour –speed due to lightness, savings in terms of fuel cost, and sustainability by lowering carbon emissions.

Q - What are Nalco’s growth plans in its traditional business of aluminium?

A - We have embarked on a INR 5,500-crore project to expand our aluminium refinery at Damanjodi. The expansion will be completed by FY22. Post expansion, the refinery capacity will go up to 3.2 million tonnes per annum from 2.2 million tonnes per annum now. We hope to start Utkal D this year and its capacity will be ramped up over the next two years.

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Posted By : Ratan Singh on Tue, 16 Jul 2019
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