India imported bauxite worth Rs 390 crore in Jan-Mar period: IIVCC

This, despite its position as the country with the fifth-largest deposits of the mineral in the world


Bauxite | India imports | minerals

Aditi Divekar  | 

India, with the fifth largest deposits of bauxite in the world, continues to suffer large-scale forex loss due to its reliance on bauxite imports.

During the January-March quarter of 2021, the country’s bauxite imports totalled to a $51.97 million (Rs 390 crore), with a significant share going to the participants in the value chain of extraction, transportation, processing and supply of bauxite and its end output, informed Indian Industrial Value Chain Collective (IIVCC).

The IIVCC group represents organizations involved in the industrial production and consumption supply chain across India.

“Despite India having the fifth largest bauxite deposit in the world, with over 50 percent of it located in Odisha alone, aluminium industries continue to rely on imported bauxite. This has caused a forex loss of $571 million (Rs 4,400 crore) in the last 6 years alone,” Abhay Raj Mishra, member of Indian Industrial Value Chain Collective (IIVCC) and President of Public Response Against Helplessness and Action for Redressal (PRAHAR) was quoted as saying.

There is no substitute for bauxite, as it is the only ore used for aluminium production. Due to this, availability of bauxite is critical to the growth and development of the domestic aluminum industry.

Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Limited, Hindalco Industries and state-owned National Aluminium Company Limited are the three largest primary aluminium producers in the country.

“With bauxite reserves of more than 3.8 billion tonnes, it is baffling that India has to meet its bauxite requirements from imports. For every single mine auctioned, there is potential to garner Rs 5,000 crore for the exchequer and create 10,000 livelihood opportunities. The positive ripple effect that this could have on the socio-economy of the region is significant,” said Mishra.

Bauxite import has increased by 300 percent in past six years as per data published in Import-Export Databank, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.

Odisha is among the worst affected state due to this forex loss, which has nearly 50 percent of the country’s bauxite reserves and 25 percent of its coal reserves, both of which are the primary raw materials for aluminium production. The state has so far attracted investments of over Rs 1.4 lakh crore to make it the aluminum capital of the nation.

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