Vedanta Ltd, India's largest private miner, today led resumption of iron ore production at Goa after a three-year ban as the top ore exporting state looks to regain lost glory.
Vedanta resumed operations with a ceremonial opening at its Codli mine amid a slump in prices.
The Supreme Court had in 2012 banned mining in Goa as part of a clampdown on illegal mining. The ban was lifted in April last year but operations could resume only today after various clearances, including environmental, were secured.
While iron ore exports had reached about 50 million tons in 2010-11, the apex court has capped the output at 20 million tons a year for now.
Goa hopes all miners to restart operations within this fiscal.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar formally launched the mining operations at Codli mines, 100 km from Panaji.
Though the mining resumption was announced today, the actual extraction of ore will start only after the monsoon season gets over next month.
Parsekar said the resumption of mining is an indication of "Acche Din".
Codli mine which was Asia's largest mining site before it was shut down has the extraction capacity of 3.1 million tons.
Besides Codli, billionaire Anil Agarwal-led company said it has received all approvals to restart mining at Bicholim.
"We waited for three years for this day. We were waiting for our mining operations to resume. Government was also willing that the mining operation should resume," said Kishore Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Sesa Iron Ore, a unit of Vedanta.
"We have no control over the market prices but we can at least have proper regulated mining operation. This is possible only with the help of employees," he said responding to worries about decreasing international pricing.
The company in a statement said final clearances to other mines are expected to be granted by the end of August.
"Post monsoon season, the company plans to fully resume mining and by the end of the current fiscal year, to utilise its full annual production allowance of 5.5 million tonnes," it said in a statement.
In a concall with reporters, Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese said: "We need to work hard to regain market share in a very difficult market. This will take close cooperation between the industry, the government and all stakeholders to ensure we can reopen on a competitive basis."
On iron ore prices, he said: "Considering the conditions, we expect the prices to be much below USD 45 per tonne. The industry needs government help."