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Aluminium sector sets ingot output target at 7.2 l.t.

Badal Sanyal

KOLKATA, June 5

THE aluminium industry has set a production target of about 7.2 lakh tonnes of ingot for fiscal 2002-03 as against a combined production of about 6.37 lakh tonnes recorded in 2001-02. The quantum jump in production is expected to be achieved following new capacity addition by three major primary aluminium producers in the country during the current fiscal.

As indicated by the Aluminium Association of India (AAI), the State-owned National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco), the A.V.Birla group controlled Hindalco Industries Ltd (Hindalco) and Indian Aluminium Company Ltd (Indal) will jointly put up new capacity of about 2.42 lakh tonnes in their smelters. Of the new capacity to be added, Nalco's share will be about 1.15 lakh tonnes, Hindalco's will be about one lakh tonnes and Indal's share will be restricted to 27,000 tonnes. The smelter capacities at Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (Balco) and Madras Aluminium Company Ltd (Malco) will remain unchanged.

Meanwhile, all the five primary aluminium producers have informed AAI of their production plans. It is learnt that Nalco has set production and export targets for 2002-03 of 2.6 lakh tonnes and 1.38 lakh tonnes respectively as against previous year's production and export of 2.32 lakh tonnes and 1.18 lakh tonnes. Hindalco has set its production and export targets at 2.9 lakh tonnes and 45,000 tonnes as against 2.61 lakh tonnes and 30,000 tonnes, respectively. Indal is poised to produce about 50,000 tonnes of ingot as against 44,000 tonnes.

Balco, which suffered a production cut in the year 2001-02 following the shutdown of its smelter for a couple of weeks, has set a production target of 90,000 tonnes against 70,000 tonnes. The production target for Malco will remain the same as in the previous year, that is, around 30,000 tonnes.

An AAI source said that exports of primary metal compared to the last fiscal may grow by 40,000 tonnes to 1,83,000 tonnes owing to the proposed capacity expansion, while import is likely to drop by 10,000 tonnes to 1,00,000 tonnes.

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