Vedanta to invest Rs 20,000 crore in West Bengal

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Kolkata, Mar 12 (UNI) Set to invest Rs 20,000 crore in West Bengal, Vedanta Resources Plc today signed an agreement with West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation for setting up of a 6.5 lakh ton aluminium smelter and a 3,00 MW power plant at Bidhanbagh in Bardhaman district.

The agreement was signed in presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen.

While the aluminium complex will entail an investment of more than Rs 14,000 crore, the power plant to be set up in two phases with 1,500 MW each would involve an expenditure of about Rs 6,000 crore.

Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal said the two projects, requiring a total of 1,000 acre of land were expected to be completed in the next three years.

The capital would be raised through a mix of internal accruals and debts, he said.

" Plans are also afoot to develop a metal park in the region once the smelter and the power plant become operational to attract small and medium entrepreneurs in the downstream industry to set up units for aluminium product manufacturing, " he said.

Mr Agarwal said the company would get supply of the required alumina for the proposed smelter from its BALCO plant in Orissa.

One of the largest producers of zinc, copper and aluminium in the world and listed on London Stock Exchange, Vedanta is the holding company of Sterlite, having presence in different parts of the world.

The company had already made large invstements totalling about Rs 32,000 crore in Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh.

Observing that aluminium was the third most abudndant metal on earth and the world's second largest metal to be consumed after steel, Mr Agarwal said the global consumption of both upstream and downstream products was expected to double by 2020.

" Given this scenario, the market for aluminium in India is booming with the industry poised for a big leap. The present Indian market is around 1.2 million tons per annum which is conservatively expected to grow at around 10-12 per cent annually, " he said.

The Chief Minister said the proposed smelter would be an important step towards further investment in the downstream industry which would create employment opportunities.

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