Vedanta: Oil, zinc output up in Q2; iron ore, copper down
New Delhi: Mining major Vedanta Resources on Wednesday said its crude oil production has increased to a record 2,13,299 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD) in the quarter ended September 30, but iron ore, copper and lower power sales affected its performance.
The company, whose majority of operations are in India, reported rise in production of refined zinc (21 percent), refined lead (17 percent), silver (7 percent) and aluminium businesses (2 percent).
In a statement, Vedanta said it has also completed its group restructuring exercise, which was announced in February, 2012.
Accordingly, a new entity, Sesa Sterlite, has been created by merging Sterlite Industries into Sesa Goa. Some other group firms have also been merged or made part of Sesa Sterlite following the exercise.
Talking about its oil and gas business, the company said it has increased by 3 percent to 2,13,299 BOEPD in the last quarter, primarily due to increase in its Rajasthan and Cambay basin oil blocks.
Vedanta, which runs the crude oil exploration business through group firm Cairn India, had reported a daily production of 2,07,245 barrels in the July-September quarter of the last fiscal.
"The gross production at the Rajasthan block was 2 percent higher at 1,75,478 BOEPD. Production at Cambay was 27 percent higher in Q2 due to new infill wells and one workover well that had been put into production in Q1," it said.
The company added that "exploration drilling continues in the Rajasthan block with the current program targeting half of the 530 million barrels of gross recoverable risked prospective resource base, including considerable deep gas prospects in this fiscal year".
However, Vedanta's iron ore mining operations in Goa and Karnataka continued to be suspended. The company said it expects to resume mining in Karnataka shortly and is waiting for securing final statutory clearances. For Goa, where a mining ban is in place, the company said that "the hearings have commenced at the Supreme Court".
Its copper and alumina productions and sales from power businesses were also down at its various operations in the last quarter.
While the copper (mined metal) production at its Indian and Australian operations together was down by 4 percent, the production at Konkola Copper Mines, Zambia was down 26 percent due to suspension of mining operations at some of its facilities.
The alumina refinery at Lanjigarh, Odisha, reported 43 percent decline as it continued to operate at lower capacity for want of bauxite. However, the company managed to increase its aluminium production by 2 percent to 2 lakh tonne.
"The Lanjigarh alumina refinery recommenced operations in July and produced 1,16,000 tonne in Q2. During Q2, the refinery supplied 17 percent of the alumina consumed by our smelters as compared with 100 percent import of alumina feed by the smelters in Q1," the company said.
It added that the company "expects the refinery to ramp-up to its rated capacity in Q3 FY'2014" but did not give details on from where it will source bauxite as the refinery does not have its own captive mine.
Few months ago, 12 gram sabhas, located on the slopes of Niyamgiri hills and selected by the Odisha government, had rejected the proposal to mine bauxite at the hills.
The gram sabhas were selected after a Supreme Court order of April 18, directing the Odisha government to conduct meetings of gram sabhas for deciding whether mining will impact the religious, community and cultural rights of the villagers, especially their right to worship Niyam Raja, the deity.
The company said it is hoped to secure first metal at 3,25,000 tonnes per annum new smelter of Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) during the next quarter.
Besides, its power sales were down 29 percent in the last quarter to 1,910 million units (MU), "primarily due to lower power sales from Jharsuguda 2,400 MW power plant which operated in Q2 at a PLF (plant load factor) of 31 percent for all four units", the company said.