Coal shortage forces NALCO to cut aluminium production

The price of aluminium in the international market is $2,380 per tonne.The company was running about 931 aluminium smelting pots in its smelter plant at Angul, about 161 km from here, to produce about 1,200-1,300 tonnes of aluminium daily despite low power supply for the past several days.

It had to shutdown 60 of the pots Friday to ensure safe operations of the remaining pots as coal stock reached a very critical level and power generation came down further, a company official told IANS.

The firm requires about 16,000 tonnes of coal daily to produce about 900 MW power at the captive power plant that feeds its smelter to keep all the smelting pots running in full capacity.

However, the power plant was producing only 600-720 MW power in the past 8-10 days because there was no adequate coal, he said.

NALCO has received on an average about 10,000 tonnes of coal daily for the past about a month and as a result it had to exhaust almost all its 15 days of coal stock.

"The current stock available can last for only two and half days. Unless we get adequate coal, we have to shut down more pots in the coming days," he said.

The official was however hopeful that the situation will improve soon as efforts are on to get more coal from various sources.

Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) - a unit of Coal India - supplies linked coal to NALCO from mines located in Talcher of Angul district.

The coal productions at the mines have been affected in the past weeks due to several reasons, including heavy rains, a dengue outbreak and strike by labourers.

"We are trying to source coal from other mines of MCL. They have also assured us to supply from their mines other than Talcher," he said.

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