New Delhi: Describing aluminium as the future, Vedanta Resources Chairman Anil Agarwal today said the consumption of the metal will rise to 20 million tonnes (MT) from the present 2 MT going ahead.
“India only has 1.5 MT aluminium production and the consumption is about 2 MT. It is going to be 20 MT. Every thing will move to aluminium. Whether railway, construction, aerospace, automobiles,” he said replying to a query on setting up small and medium firms in India’s manufacturing sector.
Agarwal, however did not elaborate on the time period.
Speaking at a CII event here, he said aluminium as a light metal is being considered as the future of industry and setting up a small and medium enterprise (SME) in the sector will require an investment between Rs 25-500 crore.
Vedanta Ltd, part of the London-listed metals and mining conglomerate, through its subsidiary Balco produces Aluminium in India. On loan from banks to SMEs, he said: “It is a myth (that banks cannot lend). They are looking for SME proposals.”
When asked about the downturn in mines and minerals sector both globally and in India, he said: “This is the time to build. Who bothers about competition, we love it. Important thing is opportunity. We can grow in a slow market.
When asked about reasons behind India lagging in production of oil and gas, the mining baron said it is just a “perception”.
“Perception is that we have no oil. We have a habit of staying poor. India has huge reserves of oil. When we acquired Cairn India there was marginal feed. Today, if the government gives support and we go full hog, I can create 4 times production,” he added.
“I feel Indian government and state-run ONGC should give oil fields to Indian entrepreneurs on revenue sharing basis and give clear environmental norms,” he added.
He said his firm Cairn India is aspiring to produce 50 per cent of India’s oil consumption. Stressing on least government intervention in business, Agarwal said policies need to be open and there should be transparent environmental norms.
He said technology has developed to an extent that one can extract natural resources from Earth without minimum environmental impact.
Giving a glimpse of his “amazing” journey he said, in the last 30 years, Vedanta has raised Rs 2 lakh crore, about USD 30 billion, from the London market, which his firm has invested in India.
“We brought it here and invested in oil and gas, copper, aluminium, iron ore and zinc. And with this investment of Rs 2 lakh crore, every year at least USD 4-5 billion has been paid to the government as taxes, royalty and on top of that 60 lakh new employment has happened,” he noted.
When asked if doing business in India was difficult, the mining baron said,”it will get better. One needs to keep working. Keep moving ahead.”