Lanjigarh is a village situated in the hilly landscape of Kalahandi District in Orissa. Today Lanjigarh is synonymous with Vedanta Aluminium Ltd’s project that consists of a state-of-the-art Alumina Refinery and proposed Niyamgiri bauxite mine that was identified for mining by the Government of Orissa all the way back in the late 1970’s, well before the formation of Vedanta Resources.
In the late 1990’s Vedanta Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Govt. of Odisha for setting up of an Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh.
Only after extensive studies of the impact the project would have on the environment, wildlife, and most importantly the people living in the area, did Vedanta move ahead with actual construction of the refinery in 2004. Consultation was conducted with the local inhabitants in line with the rules and regulations of the country.
The Vedanta Alumina Refinery is a greenfield refinery with an existing capacity of 1 mtpa, which will be expanded to 5mtpa. It is the first Alumina Refinery in India to adopt the Zero Discharge System, i.e. no water or effluent is discharged externally from the refinery. The plant is located at a distance of approximately 3 km from the main streets of the Lanjigarh village. Large industrial projects require land leading to some amount of displacement. Vedanta designed this project to minimize displacement of the people who lived in the area. In the alumina refinery project, about 121 families were displaced after extensive consultation with them, and only after they gave consent to be displaced and rehabilitated. There are stringent rules and regulations in India around displacing people, and Vedanta followed these regulations. These families have been successfully resettled in a modern housing colony that was built by Vedanta, just 1-2 km from their original homes, so that they would still continue to live in the same area that they have been living for generations.
Vedanta has projects in various states of India and is committed to the highest standards of Health, Safety, Environment and Community Engagement.
Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) has been conferred with a number of awards such as the British Safety Council Award 2009, Green Business Leadership Award 2009 and the St. John Ambulance Annual Award 2008. The CEO of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. was awarded the Global Ethical Practices award in January 2010. Vedanta’s Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh also holds certifications of Quality management system-ISO 9001-2008, Environmental Management System- ISO 14001-2004 and Occupational Health and Safety Management System-OHSAS-18001-2007.
The Lanjigarh Alumina Refinery – Operational Since 2007
The Vedanta Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh currently has a refining capacity of 1 mtpa and plans to expand its capacity upto 5mtpa. The plant employs state-of-the-art technology and environmental practices. Spread across an area of 2060 acres, the plant symbolizes industrial progress and development in the region.
Project Approval Procedure
- Well connected rail and road network in addition to easy access to ports.
- Zero Effluent Discharge Technology – no water or effluent discharged externally from the refinery.
- High Concentration Slurry Disposal technology for Red Mud and Ash i.e. pumping at high solid concentration ranging which requires low water usage.
India has stringent rules and regulations with regards to Mining. Multiple processes and procedures are in place to assess the merit of every project. Vedanta’s Lanjigarh project has been put through exhaustive scrutiny and after satisfying outcomes, the authorities, including the Honorable Supreme Court of India have given the ‘go ahead’ to the project in principle, along with mandatory guidelines. The refinery has commenced operations after receiving all approvals, while the mining has not yet commenced as it awaits final forest diversion clearance.
New projects are granted approval by India’s Central Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) as per prevailing guidelines of the Government of India which involves the following steps:
Vedanta’s Lanjigarh Project has passed through all these stages of Project Approval, before it was granted permission to proceed.
- Application is submitted to the MoEF for grant of site clearance.
- Preparation of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report taking into account data for the following:
(i) Resettlement and rehabilitation study, if applicable
(ii) Hydrology and hydrogeology study
(iii) Ground water/surface water withdrawal permission
(iv) Details of flora and fauna in the area
(v) Details of the impact of project on air, water and ground topography
- Submission of the EIA report to the State Pollution Control Board with a request to conduct the Public Consultation process.
- Obtaining permission from the District Collector regarding the place, date and nomination of their representative to attend the Public Consultation.
- Publication of the notice of public consultation in two newspapers, one national and another at the local level with a 30 day holdover period for comments, if any in the English and local language and also inform people through word of mouth and through local community leaders.
- Conducting the Public Consultation with a presentation to the attendees and recording of the minutes of the meeting by a State Pollution Control Board Official. It also involves consulting the “Gram Sabha” or the council of local villagers where the project is situated.
- Incorporation of the issues raised in the Public Consultation process along with replies to each such issue in the EIA report and submission to MoEF with all the study reports.
- Issue of ‘No Objection Certificate’ (Consent to Establish) by the State Pollution Control Board.
- Filing application to the MoEF along with the No Objection Certificate, for grant of environmental clearance for the project.