AAI urges CIL to ensure un-interrupted coal supplies for aluminium industry captive power plants

AgenciesUpdated: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 08:29 PM IST
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One tonne of aluminium production requires 14,500 units of continuous power which is 15 times in comparison to steel and 145 times as that for cement. / Representational image |

The Aluminium Association of India (AAI) has sought the intervention of state-owned CIL with regard to resumption of un-interrupted coal supplies and rakes for aluminium industry captive power plants (CPPs) which are facing alarmingly depleted stocks of dry fuel of three to four days as compared to the prescribed level of 15 days.

In a letter on Tuesday to Coal India chairman, the AAI said that with untiring efforts of CIL and its subsidiaries, the situation of power Sector has now improved significantly with 9-10 days' stocks from as 3-4 days in August-September last year.

However, this has come at an enormous cost to the CPPs and the worst impacted is the aluminium industry, which continues to struggle to get un-interrupted coal supplies, resulting a backlog of over 1,200 coal rakes, it said adding that most of the available coal and rakes are being diverted away to the power sector as 'priority coal supplies'.

The country's booming manufacturing sector also stares at a possible derailment if the present situation is not addressed immediately and may lead to collapse of domestic industry and associated SMEs. Further, the shortage of raw materials and aluminium inputs to other key industries will lead increased imports and loss of export earnings.

Aluminium is a continuous process based highly power intensive industry, and requires uninterrupted quality power supply through in-house CPPs operating round-the-clok for 365 days and continuous coal supplies are vital.

One tonne of aluminium production requires 14,500 units of continuous power which is 15 times in comparison to steel and 145 times as that for cement.

There are no alternative means to meet this intense power demand. Any power outage/failure results in freezing of molten aluminium in the pots and plant shut-down for at least six months rendering heavy losses and restart expenses, and once restarted will take almost a year to get desired metal purity.

With revival of economy and post pandemic industrial activity, the CPP based industries are highly dependent on un-interrupted coal supplies which is vital for sustainable operations and cost- competitiveness of power intensive industries vis-a-vis global players. Any production curtailment by this sector will have cascading effect on consumption and downstream supply chain, thereby adversely impacting the nation's GDP growth.

''To avoid closure of aluminium industry and save lakhs of livelihoods and SMEs, we earnestly request your kind intervention to normalise the precarious situation with immediate resumption of coal and rakes supply for highly power intensive aluminium industry CPPs, and earmarking at least 25-30 coal rakes per day for economically viable and sustainable industry operations,'' the letter said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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