Sesa Goa to resume mining in Karnataka by June
"We expect to resume mining in Karnataka by June... we are in the process of securing necessary clearances" Vedanta's CEO M S Mehta said in a conference call, while announcing the annual results of the company.
Noting that iron ore produced in Karnataka does not have the permission for exports, Mehta said that there is a "significant latent potential demand of iron ore within the state of Karnataka itself" and Sesa Goa is not looking to export the raw material from the state.
Sesa Goa's mine in Karnataka's Chitradurga district is among the mines on which the Supreme Court had lifted the ban last month. However, its lease for the mine had expired in October last year and with that the forest clearance had also ended.
While the company can begin mining on deemed basis till the renewal of the lease, it requires forest clearance to do the same.
Last month, Sesa Goa's Managing Director P K Mukherjee had said the company is in "advanced stages" of securing forest clearance for resuming mining.
Sesa Goa's mine was in Category-B. Before the imposition of ban by the Supreme Court in July-August 2011, the mine could produce 6 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of ore. Now its capacity has been curtailed to 2.29 MTPA as the apex court has fixed an upper ceiling of 30 MTPA for iron ore production in Karnataka.
Mehta also said Sesa Goa has filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking a stay on mining ban and restriction on ore transportation in the state.
Talking about its Odisha operations, the Vedanta CEO said that his firm is hopeful of getting support from the state government on the issue of securing bauxite from its alumina refinery in Lanjigarh.
The refinery was closed due to paucity of bauxite, the key raw material in alumina making (the intermediate product of aluminium). Vedanta also runs an aluminium smelter in the state.
Mehta also indicated that Vedanta is working on alternative sources of bauxite within the state. This may include securing new bauxite mining lease in the state and expediting work at Raykal Aluminium, in which Vedanta had acquired 24.5 per cent stake last year.
Raykal, in which Larsen and Toubro currently holds majority stake, is yet to get mining licence. This has led to delays in Vedanta's plans of increasing its stake in the company.
Currently to feed its aluminium smelter in Jharsuguda, the Anil Agarwal-promoted firm is relying on alumina bought from open market, including imports.
Shares of Sesa Goa closed 2.44 per cent higher at Rs 167.95 apiece on the BSE today.