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THE country’s largest aluminium maker, National Aluminium Co (Nalco), has received investment approvals from the Indonesian government for its proposed Rs 16,500-crore offshore aluminium smelter-cum-power project in that country.

Nalco is now finalising an investment road map for the project, work on which is slated to start in a year.

“We have projected an investment of around Rs 1,500 crore a year in Indonesia, starting 2012-13. The investment will be made in tranches and the amount will go up in step with the progress of the project,” Nalco chairman and managing director AK Srivastava said.

The state-owned aluminium major plans to set up a 0.5 million tonne smelter, along with a 1,250 mw coalfired power plant in the East Kalimantan region of Indonesia. “A detailed project report is now being prepared and it will take a year or so to complete. Following this, we would like to start construction work at the site which is likely to take another 48 months,” he added.

Nalco has joined hands with RAK Minerals & Metals Investment, a UAE company, to develop logistics for transportation of coal. Though Indonesia’s East Kalimantan region is rich in coal reserves, the mines need to be developed to serve the project needs. “In the next two years, our partners will be engaged in developing infrastructure related to mining and port facilities linked to it,” Mr Srivastava added.

The project will be key to Nalco’s future growth strategy since the company is saddled with surplus alumina, postexpansion of its facilities at Orissa. Out of total output of 15.92 lakh tones (lt) of alumina last year, Nalco consumed some nine lakh tonnes on its own, which it converted into aluminium metal, a higher value product. Last year, it sold the remaining 6 lt alumina in the global market. The company is increasingly trying to convert and sell higher amounts of the metal to increase its realisation and margins.

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