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Vedanta’s oil & zinc output up in FY14; iron ore & copper down

Diversified conglomerate Vedanta Resources on Thursday reported higher production of oil and gas, refined zinc and aluminium in 2013-14 and said output of copper, iron ore and power businesses declined.The London-listed, India-focused company reported a 6 per cent increase in average daily oil and gas production at 2,18,651 barrels in the previous financial year, primarily due to a 7 per cent rise in output at the Rajasthan oil field, it said in a statement.‘The Rajasthan block achieved a landmark oil production of 200 million barrels and a 200,000 boepd (barrels of oil equivalent per day) production milestone in March 2014,’ it said, adding that average daily output at the block in the last quarter rose 13 per cent to 1,90,881 barrels.

Output of refined zinc rose 11 per cent to 7.49 lakh tonnes, while mined metal zinc content rose 1 per cent.Production of mined metal content was lower than planned initially ‘due to slower-than-expected ramp-up of underground mining projects and changes in mining sequence, wherein preference was given to primary mine development.’

Copper production declined 18 per cent to 1.77 lakh tonnes amid the temporary closure of its Tuticorin smelter in April-June and suspension of operations at its Australian mine, Vedanta said.

‘Production at our Australian (copper) mine remained suspended due to a mud rush at one of the stopes in January 2014. We are working with Work Place Standards Authorities at Tasmania to resume operations,’ it added.The company, controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, will shut the Tuticorin smelter, which achieved 98 per cent capacity utilisation, in the current quarter for 22 days for maintenance, it said.

Output of iron ore fell 60 per cent to 1.5 million tonnes as operations remained shut for most of the year. The company restarted iron ore production in Karnataka on 28 December and produced 1.5 million tonnes of ore in three months.
However, the Goa operations remain closed due to the apex court-imposed mining ban. The company expects the ban to be lifted soon and hopes to resume production after the monsoon, S L Bajaj, CFO (iron ore Business), said on a conference call.
The Lanjigarh refinery in Odisha, which remained in controversy for most of the year over sourcing of bauxite from nearby Niyamgiri hills, operated at 91 per cent capacity and produced 5.24 lakh tonnes of alumina, the company said.  Vedanta reported a 3 per cent increase in aluminium output at 7.94 lakh tonnes in the previous financial year due to a rise in alumina feed from the Lanjigarh plant, it said. During the January-March quarter, the company started its third smelter at Korba in Chhattisgarh, which is operated by subsidiary Bharat Aluminium Company, and produced 900 tonnes of aluminium.

‘We expect to ramp up significantly during FY15, consequent to the commissioning of the 1,200 MW power plant,’ for which regulatory approvals are expected in Q1 FY15, Vedanta said.

Output of mined metal content of copper at its Konkola mine in Zambia was down 19 per cent, while finished copper production declined 18 per cent. Copper ore production at the Konkola and Nchanga underground mines was lower, it said.Vedanta's power business continues to witness weak demand, which led to a 7 per cent decline in electricity sales at 9,374 million units, the company said.
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