National Aluminium Company (Nalco) is mulling to set up a high-end aluminium products plant by availing technology from foreign suppliers. The project is planned keeping in view the future applications of aluminium metal in bullet trains, aerospace and electric vehicles.
"The technology for high end aluminium products plants is not available in India. So, we are in talks with potential suppliers in USA and Russia to avail their technologies. If we get the right technology, our proposed plant may come up within the aluminium park at Angul or somewhere closer to the site", said T K Chand, chairman & managing director, Nalco.
The aluminium park is being developed jointly by Nalco and state owned Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco). For the downstream park, 240 acres of land has been acquired.
Nalco has floated an Expression of Interest (EoI) to select the technology supplier.
Use of aluminium as the preferred metal in electric vehicles can cut down on emissions due to light weighting. Statistically, one kg of heavy metal when replaced by similar amount of aluminium promises reduction of 23 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions in the life cycle of a vehicle.
Nalco already has a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Defence ministry PSU- Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (Midhani) for manufacture of high-end aluminium alloys. Such valued added products which find applications in aerospace and transportation secwould act as import substitute alloys.
Separately, Nalco has signed an MoU with two other central public sector enterprises (CPSEs)- Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) for making high-end alloys. The boards of the three CPSEs have approved the proposal to forge a joint venture (JV) company.
In the JV company to be titled 'Khanij Bidesh India Ltd' (KABIL), Nalco would have an equity of 34 per cent. Both MECL and HCL's shareholding is pegged at 33 per cent each.
The JV is tasked with identifying, exploring, acquiring, developing and processing the strategic minerals overseas for commercial use and for supplying to India to meet the domestic requirements due to its non-availability in the country and giving a boost to Make in India drive of the Government of India. The identified strategic minerals include tin, tungsten, titanium, gallium, lithium, tantalum, cobalt, niobium, selenium and indium. The objective is to make the country self-sufficient in such minerals. The minerals are expected to be blended with aluminium to form special alloys to cater to future applications.
The JV firm would hunt for such mineral assets primarily in South Africa and other African countries. It can either go for outright buyouts of the assets or forge tie-ups with local companies there.