Aluminium sector says coal stocks critically low

Industry seeks 25-30 rakes a day

With coal stocks running ‘critically low’, the aluminium industry has sought urgent government intervention to address the precarious situation and earmark at least 25-30 coal rakes per day for sustainable industry operations.

In a letter dated January 28 to Coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain, the Aluminium Association of India (AAI) pointed out that the captive power plants of aluminium industry were facing alarmingly depleted coal stocks of only 3-4 days as compared with the prescribed level of 15 days.

“To avoid closure of Aluminium industry, 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 industry body has said.

Aluminium is a power intensive continuous process industry, which requires uninterrupted and steady power supply, the industry association said, explaining that power outage of two hours or more results in freezing of molten aluminium in the pots, leading to shut down of a plant for at least six months. Once restarted, it will take almost a year to get the desired metal purity leading to heavy financial losses. “The CPP of aluminium industry are facing alarmingly depleted coal stocks of only 3-4 days as compared to the prescribed level of 15 days. Even though there is improved availability of coal, non-availability of rakes for non-regulated sectors is a major concern,” AAI said.

AAI added that since August 2021, the non-regulated sector was struggling to ensure it received uninterrupted coal supplies.

“There is a backlog of over 6,000 coal rakes as most of the available coal and rakes are being diverted to the power sector as priority supplies. We understand now that the Power Sector coal inventory situation has drastically improved to around 10 days from 2-3 days in the months of Sept.–Oct. 2021,” the association added.

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