‘Iron ore only blot on Vedanta’s metal production performance’

Panaji, July 11 (IANS) Iron ore was the only blip on Vedanta Ltd’s performance as far as metals are concerned but company chairman Naveen Agarwal expressed confidence in future prospects of copper, zinc, lead and aluminium production.

Speaking during Vedanta’s annual general meeting of Vedanta Limited here Saturday, Agarwal said that the company was well poised to capitalise on India’s abundant natural resource opportunities because nearly one-third of the company’s businesses and operations were based in India and Africa, two of the fastest growing regions in the world.

He said that the company’s zinc and lead business hit a “historic high” due to the “all-round” performance at the Rampura Agucha mine, one of the largest and lowest cost open pit zinc mines in the world.

“We also made significant progress on the development of the Rampura Agucha and Sindersar Khurd mines to take our production capacity from 1 million tons to 1.2 million tons. At Zinc International, while the Lisheen mine in Ireland will reach the end of its life in the middle of the current year, the mine life at Skorpion in Namibia is being extended by two years by deepening the current open pit,” he said, adding that Vedanta was expected to break ground at the Gamsberg Zinc project in South Africa.

Gamsberg boasts of one of world’s largest undeveloped zinc deposits, he said.

Vedanta’s copper smelter also recorded the highest ever production, Agarwal said, adding that the company had invested $8 billion to ramp up aluminium and power assets.

“We are now well positioned for accelerated growth in 2016, with the progressive ramp up of the new smelters at Korba and Jharsuguda. We also made progress in securing raw material for our alumina refinery after the Odisha government granted us Prospecting Licenses for three deposits. The expansion of the Lanjigarh Alumina refinery has also reached the final stages of approval and we expect to receive environmental clearance shortly,” he said.

Agarwal however expressed disappointment over about the non resumption of iron ore mining in Goa, which was banned for nearly three years. He however said that the company was in a position to start mining operations in Goa at an interim capacity of 5.5 million tons, now that the required government approvals had been accorded.

Iron ore mining in Karnataka had also resumed in February this year, he also said.

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