Sesa expects to restart Karnataka iron ore mine soon

Sesa expects to restart Karnataka iron ore mine soon

Sesa Sterlite Ltd, India's top private iron ore miner, expects to "soon" resume mining in Karnataka and produce at its court-set limit of 2.29 million tonnes in the year ending March, a company official told Reuters on Tuesday.

The company in August stopped producing from its lone operational mine in the southern state pending the renewal of its licence, exacerbating a shortage of the raw material for users such as JSW Steel Ltd and Kalyani Steels.

JSW is already importing heavily and Kalyani Steels is now considering buying overseas. India was once the third-largest iron ore exporter before curbs on illegal mining choked the industry.

Aniruddha Joshi, a Sesa vice president, said the company's request for forest clearance from the Environment and Forest Ministry was at an "advanced stage" and that the mine's licence was expected to be renewed soon after.

Chaitanya Prasad, a spokesman for the Environment and Forest Ministry, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Following a court imposed ban of more than two years in Karnataka, Sesa restarted mining in the state in December last year, before being asked to stop again in August.

Sesa, controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Resources Plc, produced just 300,000 tonnes from the mine in this fiscal year that began in April.

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