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Orissa alumina project to take off this year

Calcutta, Sept. 3: The green field alumina project promoted by Indian Aluminum and Alcan of Canada is finally set to take of by the end of the year.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference of the All India Management Association here today, Indal chief executive officer S. K. Tamotia said that representatives of the two promoters recently met Patnaik and discussed the crucial issue of physical possession of land.

Following the intervention of Orissa chief minister Navin Patnaik, Tamotia said Indal was now optimistic of starting work on the project as well as taking possession of the land in Raigada district by December.

Tamotia said some NGOs had been objecting to the project on environmental grounds, which delayed it by almost four years.

He added that the project has undergone several changes. For instance, alumina production capacity would be raised to 1.5 million tonnes against the original projected capacity of 1 million tonnes.

The project, whose cost is pegged at Rs 4,000 crore, will have a gestation period of around three-and-a-half years and a debt-equity ratio of 1:1.5. Of this, the promoters had already put in Rs 80 crore as equity.

Norwegian firm Norsk Hydro initially pulled out of the project, following which its stake was acquired by Indal and Alcan.

According to the latest equity tieup amongst the promoters, Aditya Birla group company Indal would have a stake of 55 per cent while Alcan will pick up 45 per cent.

A long-term agreement with Alcan has also been reached for the buyback of the entire production at prevailing London Metal Exchange rates.

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