Goa ban bites at Vedanta

Indian resources firm Vedanta saw production and sales of iron ore from Goa fall off a cliff in the second quarter of its fiscal year, as the government's ban on mining activities in the state starts to bite.

Indian resources firm Vedanta saw production and sales of iron ore from Goa fall off a cliff in the second quarter of its fiscal year, as the government's ban on mining activities in the state starts to bite.

The ban was imposed after the government found "serious illegalities and irregularities" in the state's mining operations in September.

Output figures in other parts of the business were a bit of a mixed bag.

Iron oreSales of Iron Ore were 0.2m tonnes in Q2 and 3.1m tonnes in H1, as compared with 1.6m tonnes and 5.8m tonnes in the corresponding periods of last year, respectively. Iron ore operations were affected by the mining ban in Karnataka, a temporary restriction on iron ore extraction in Goa, and transportation restrictions in South Goa during the monsoons.

Sales from Goa in the second quarter were down by three-quarters year-on-year while production of saleable ore from Goa was down 42% on the corresponding quarter of 2011.

Zinc IndiaMined metal production was 190,000 tonnes in the second quarter (Q2) and 377,000 tonnes in the first half (H1), as compared with 210,000 tonnes and 398,000 tonnes in the corresponding periods of 2011, giving changes of -9% and -5% respectively.

Integrated production of refined zinc was 153,000 tonnes in Q2 and 310,000 tonnes in H1. Integrated production of refined lead was 24,000 tonnes in Q2, and 53,000 tonnes in H1, up 40% and 59% respectively year-on-year, driven by the ramp-up of output at the new Dariba lead smelter.

In line with the mine plan and earlier guidance, mined metal production in fiscal 2013 (FY2013) is expected to be slightly higher than the previous year, with production in the second half of the year more than making up for marginally lower production (year-on-year) in the first half.

Zinc InternationalTotal production of refined zinc and mined zinc-lead metal in concentrate was 114,000 tonnes in Q2, in line with the corresponding prior period, and 5% lower at 220,000 in H1 in line with the current year's mine plan and on account of lower grades, as previously indicated.

Oil and GasIn Q2, average daily gross operated production was 207,245 barrels of oil equivalent (boe), 22% higher than the corresponding prior period. Working interest production was 30% higher at 129,431 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

The increase was driven by ramp-up at the Rajasthan block, which delivered a 37% higher gross production of 171,801 bopd from the four producing fields in the second quarter.

Copper - India and AustraliaCopper cathode production was 87,000 tonnes in Q2, in line with the corresponding prior period, and 9% higher at 175,000 tonnes in H1.

Mined metal production at Australia was 14% higher at 6,000 tonnes in Q2 and 13% higher at 13,000 tonnes in H1.

Copper - ZambiaMined metal production was 16% higher at 45,000 tonnes in Q2, and 14% higher at 86,000 tonnes in H1, as compared with the corresponding prior periods, respectively. The increase was driven by production ramp-up at Konkola due to faster mine development, and higher throughput from the newly commissioned Nchanga concentrator.

Total production of copper cathodes was 17% higher at 61,000 tonnes in Q2, and 8% higher 110,000 tonnes in H1. Higher mined metal production contributed to a 42% increase in integrated production to 47,000 tonnes in Q2 and a 23% increase to 83,000 tonnes in H1.

Production from custom smelting was affected by lower availability of third party concentrate.

AluminiumAlumina production at the Lanjigarh refinery was 205,000 tonnes in Q2 and 423,000 tonnes in H1, 10% and 6% lower than the corresponding prior periods due to lower supply of third-party bauxite. "With reduced availability of third-party bauxite, we are evaluating various options including a temporary shut-down of refinery operations," Vedanta said.

PowerPower sales were 2,350m units in Q2 and 4,679 million units in H1, 64% higher than the corresponding prior periods. This increase was primarily due to higher power sales from three units of the Jharsuguda 2,400 megwatt (MW) power plant, operating at availability of over 80% and plant load factor of 50% in H1, with the fourth unit generating under trial run.

"We continue to work towards de-bottlenecking of our evacuation capacity, and target to enhance it by an additional 1,000MW transmission by Q4 FY2013," Vedanta said.

JH

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