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EghtesadOnline: India’s National Aluminium Company Ltd., otherwise known as NALCO has put all its overseas projects on hold, including one in Iran, to focus on expanding domestic capacity, its chairman has said.

NALCO last year signed an agreement with Iran’s mining development body to explore the possibility of building an aluminum smelter.

“Iran’s proposal is attractive as long as gas prices are attractive, but not much of an indication in that area has come,” Chairman Tapan Kumar Chand told Reuters.

Late last year, the Indian government asked NALCO to rethink its global expansion plans, including Iran, citing the need to be self-sufficient in aluminum production, Financial Tribune reported.

NALCO had also looked at setting up a 500,000-ton-per-year smelter and an associated power plant in the Middle East.

India’s third-largest aluminum producer plans to increase its output by 14% to 440,000 tons in 2017/18 and expects a 20% jump in exports to 120,000 tons.

Chand said the company’s $849 million refinery in Damanjodi in the eastern state of Odisha is likely to be commissioned by 2021, which will help increase its alumina output by as much as 48% to 3.1 million tons.

“NALCO is now strengthening its alumina arm by putting up a 1-million-ton refinery. We have got environment clearances and technology selection is over,” he said.

“The company has also formed a panel to explore the domestic sale of alumina.”

Alumina, produced from bauxite ore, is the primary input for making aluminum.

Iran-India trade Iran-India cooperation Iran aluminium India National Aluminium Company NALCO Tapan Kumar Chand