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In a bid to find alternate source of bauxite for the Lanjigarh alumina refinery of the Vedanta Alumininium Ltd (VAL), which is shut down for want of raw material since December 5, Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) has decided to apply for mining lease of Karlapat bauxite deposits soon.
OMC had entered into a Mou with VAL for supply of bauxite from its Niyamgiri mines in Kalahandi district, but the plan was derailed by persistent protests by tribal community and green activists, finally leading to the cancellation of forest clearance for the mining activity by Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in August 2010.
The state chief secretary is expected to take a decision on an alternate bauxite source for VAL on Monday.
After the Niyamgiri fiasco, VAL had sought bauxite supplies from alternative mines and made several applications to the state government in this regard.
In a bid to help revive operations of the Lanjigarh refinery, the steel & mines department earlier this month started the process of identifying prospected bauxite deposits where mining operations can commence with the statutory clearances.
The department had urged the mines directorate to furnish the status of Niyamgiri, Karlapat and other prospected bauxite deposits which are available for taking up mining directly by the state government or through Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).
The Karlapat bauxite mines, spread over 3,1183 ha, possess about 200 million tonne bauxite. Even as the state government has reserved this mine for OMC, it would take about two years to start operation of the mine, sources said.