Kashipur Anti-Bauxite mining movement, India

A short chronicle of the long and violent struggle of Kashipur against the UAIL bauxite mining and alumina refinery.


The east Indian state of Odisha is the largest producer of bauxite in India, accounting for 59% of India’s total bauxite deposits (a). After the economic liberalization of India in 1991, major thrust was given for the ‘development’ of the ‘backward states’ which consisted of large forest covers with high concentration of minerals underneath, and high tribal population inhabiting those forests. In this context, in March 1993, the new National Mineral Policy was announced opening the mining sector to private investments.

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Basic Data
NameKashipur Anti-Bauxite mining movement, India
ProvinceRayagada District, Odisha
SiteBaphlimali Hills, Kashipur Block.
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsUtkal Alumina Refinery project in Rayagada district of Orissa comprises of a 1.5 MTPA Alumina Refinery, Bauxite mines (Baphlimali) with reserves lasting for over 25 years, and captive co-generation power plant of 90 MW.
Project Area (in hectares)1,338
Level of Investment (in USD)aprox. 1,180,000,000.00
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population15,000-20,000
Start Date01/01/1993
Company Names or State EnterprisesUtkal Aluminium Industrial Limited (UAIL) from India
Hindalco Industries Limited from India
Aditya Birla Group from India
Norsk Hydro from Norway - Norsk Hydro withdrew in 1997, owing to adverse public opinion generated in Norway by reports of the hostility of the Kashipur people towards the project.
Tata Group from India - Tata withdrew in 1997, because of the ‘disturbed climate’, i.e. the popular resistance against the project.
Rio Tinto Alcan (Rio Tinto) from Canada
Relevant government actorsState Government of Odisha, Odisha State Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersPrakrutik Sampad Surakshya Parishad ,Kashipur Solidarity Group,Adivasi-Dalit Ekta Abhiyan
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Public campaigns
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Shareholder/financial activism.
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Although the environmental justice movement was able to delay the project for many years, it is currently in operation, and continues to prosper, neglecting the socio-ecological costs.
Sources and Materials

Goodland, Robert. 2007. Utkal Bauxite and Aluminia Project: Human Rights and Environmental Impacts
[click to view]

Justice Tewatia report on the police firing on tribals in Maikanch village, Rayagada district, Odisha on December 16, 2000.
[click to view]

Achyut Das and Vidhya Das. 2006. Chronicles of a struggle and other writings.
[click to view]


c) Kashipur Solidarity Group
[click to view]

Newspaper article detailing the conflict since the 1990s.
[click to view]

a) Government data on Odisha's mineral reserves
[click to view]

e) Full report of the Independent People's Tribunal for the Utkal Project
[click to view]

f) Report after the Maikanch Police firing killing 3, injuring 30 others in 2000
[click to view]

g) News of Norsk Hydro backing out of UAIL
[click to view]

i) More report on the protest
[click to view]

j) News of production starting after a 21 year delat
[click to view]

k) News of ambitious plans for high production and export of Alumina from UAIL
[click to view]

l) News of high investments for UAIL project in February, 2017
[click to view]

m) News of continued human and environmental rights violation
[click to view]

d) Press Release of the Independent People's Tribunal
[click to view]

b) Naik, I.C. 2012. Tribal Women and Environmental Movement in India.
[click to view]

n) NGT petition about mining in forest area without clearance.
[click to view]


By Patricia A. Plunkert
[click to view]

Media Links

Kashipur Documentary
[click to view]

The Conflict documentary film
[click to view]

Matiro Poko, Company Loko
[click to view]

Other Documents

Protest in Delhi
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorBrototi Roy
Last update24/03/2019