First it was Vedanta Resources and now state-owned Nalco took a step in this direction exploring options for a cement company.
Bhubaneshwar-based Nalco, Asia’s largest alumina company, recently met eight cement players to discuss ways of utilising its fly ash, a byproduct of thermal power generation. Fly ash, which is recovered from gases created by coal-fired power plants, is a cheaper replacement for portland cement that is used in concrete.
Last month, the $7-billion Vedanta had invited bids from interested cement companies to use its fly ash in setting up a cement plant, preferably through a joint venture.
Nalco generates 5,000 tonnes of fly ash a day at its captive power plant at Angul and has been looking at options to dispose this. "We’ve had a preliminary meeting with cement companies and have asked them to come back with detailed financial projections," Nalco finance director BL Bagra told ET. "Our primary aim is to dispose off the fly ash generated daily," he added.
The cement companies that have shown interest include Grasim Industries, ACC, India Cements, Shree Cements, Binani Cement and a UK-based fly ash exporter Dirk.
The companies have submitted different proposals for the proposed cement plant. Some companies have asked for Nalco’s land, while some have suggested that the metal company chip in some equity in a joint venture. "We’ll go with the proposal that asks for least contribution from Nalco," said Mr Bagra, who said that a concrete plan could be ready by the end of September.