Chautara, April 21:

Nepal Oriental Magnesite Industry, said to be the third largest industry in South Asia, at Lamosanghu in Sindhupalchowk, has remained closed for a long time.

Eventhough an agreement was reached between the management and locals to reopen the industry last year, it has yet to resume its operations.

Established in 2035 BS with a joint investment of Nepal government and Orissa Industries

Ltd of India, the industry has installed capacity to produce 20,000 metric tonnes (MT) of dead burnt magnesite. The company has a talc-plant with the capacity of 6,000 MT. However it has been producing just 4,000 MT.

The raw materials needed for the industry are brought from Kharidhunga area of Lakuridanda-8 in Dolakha district. There is a stock of 180 million MT of magnesite and 300,000 MT of talc, according to a report. The stock is said to be sufficient for 200 years even if high quality magnesite is used to produce the dead burnt magnesite (DBM). A 10.30-km rope-way, to carry the raw materials from the stone quarry spread in 2.5-sq-km to Lamosanghu, was also constructed in 2040 BS.

22 employees are employed in the industry at present despite its capacity of 1,000 employees. The industry located at Lamosanghu has 367 ropanis of land but most of them is left useless.

The technology in the industry, managed by the Orissa Industry Ltd, was adopted in 1983 after the contract made with High Technology of Harbison Walker, America.

As per the demand of Orissa Industry, three months was granted for test production in 2049-50 BS. However, it was not successful even after nine months.

The government had invested 75 per cent and the remaining part was invested by the Khetan Group and Orissa Industries, totalling it to Rs 3.05 billion. The application of Orissa Industry to increase the shares equivalent to Rs 30.75 million was not accepted. “The row has now reached the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies,” said Baburaja Aryal, chairman of the industry.