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Nalco capacity hike under review

New Delhi, Dec. 9: The government is examining the proposal of National Aluminium Company (Nalco) for second phase of capacity expansion envisaging an investment of Rs 4091.5 crore, Lok Sabha was informed today. “Nalco has submitted a proposal for second phase expansion of capacities of its bauxite mines from 48 lakh tonnes per year to 63 lakh tonnes per year, alumina refinery from 15.7 lakh tonnes per year to 21 lakh tonnes per year, aluminium smelter from 3.45 lakh tonnes per year to 4.60 lakh tonnes per year and of captive power plant at a total investment of Rs 4091.5 crore,” minister of state for mines Ramesh Bais said in a written reply.

The investment would be financed through internal resources and commercial borrowings, he said.

He said the labour ministry has granted permission for closure of Khetri copper mines.

“Hindustan Copper Ltd has taken various steps to protect the interest of employees working in the Khetri copper mines, which include benefits of voluntary retirement scheme based on the guidelines issued by the department of public enterprises,” he said.

The mines ministry has received seven proposals from the Kerala government for approval of the Centre, he said. These proposals involve granting mining leases to Kerala Rare Earths and Minerals Ltd (KREML).

Bais said following objections raised by some MPs against the Kerala government's decision to grant mining leases to KREML for an area north of Kayamkulam on environmental grounds, the proposals as well as references by MPs has been referred to the department of atomic energy.

“An interim reply from the department of atomic energy in some cases suggests that they have requested KREML to inform whether environment impact assessment and environment management plan studies have been undertaken and whether clearances from the ministry of environment and forests have been obtained,” Bais said.

In a separate reply, minister of state for coal, Prahlad Singh Patel, said in Coal India Ltd, 416 projects (costing over Rs 2 crore) have been sanctioned till March 2003 since nationalisation, of which 331 projects have been completed and 85 projects are under different stages of implementation.

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