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Balco gets approval to start 1,200-mw captive power plant in Chhattisgarh

The Economic Times:  January, 2015

Kolkata: Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) has received approval from the Chhattisgarh government to start a 1,200-mw captive power plant. The development comes as a shot in the arm for the company's plans to raise its production capacity by more than 60 per cent to 5.7 lakh tonnes per annum at Korba.

Balco, a subsidiary of Vedanta group company Sesa Sterlite, had invested Rs 5,000 crore in the plant, which comprises four units of 300 mw each.

"The state government's approval enables us to further ramp up our state-of-the-art aluminium smelter, raising aluminium capacity to 570,000 tonnes per annum," said Ramesh Nair, CEO and wholetime director of Balco. With expansion in Balco's capacity, Chhattisgarh is slated to emerge as India's third largest aluminium producer and account for more than 25 per cent of India's aluminium output.

Balco, which had commenced production nearly 50 years ago with a capacity of one lakh tonnes, had a capacity of 3.5 lakh tonnes prior to the approval. The power plant and the smelter at Korba are expected to generate sizeable employment by triggering growth of downstream industries in the state. The company's new power plant is in addition to the two existing power units with a capacity of 270 mw and 540 mw. The new plant, along with its aluminium smelter, is expected to contribute Rs 250 crore to the exchequer in the form of taxes.

Vedanta has a 51 per cent stake in Balco, while the government holds the rest in the company.Vedanta Resources chief Anil Agarwal recently said that the company expects to pick up residual stake in Hindustan Zinc and Balco soon at "market-driven value".