Friday, April 16, 2010

Vedanta sees record production

S Kalyana Ramanathan / London April 9, 2010

Vedanta Resources, the UK-based mining and metals major, today reported a record quarterly production of iron ore and aluminum for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2010.

In a statement issued today, the company said iron ore production in the last quarter and 2009-10 was 7.8 million tonnes (mt) and 21.4 mt, respectively, an increase of 59 per cent and 34 per cent over the corresponding periods.

The surge in production was attributed to a 3.6-mt contribution from Dempo’s operations (in Goa) and increased throughput from existing Sesa Goa operations.

During the March quarter, Sesa Goa shipped 7.4 mt of iron ore (with 1.8 mt contributed by Dempo), compared to 5 mt in the corresponding quarter. Despatches for the year were 20.5 mt, an increase of 36 per cent compared to 15.1 mt in the corresponding period.

The expansion of iron ore capacity to 50 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2012-13 was progressing well through a combination of mining and logistics capacity enhancements, the company said. It added expansion of the pig iron plant capacity to 625 kilo tonnes per annum (ktpa) and associated expansion of metallurgical coke plant capacity to 560 ktpa was also progressing well for the scheduled commissioning by the first quarter of 2011-12.

Mined metal production in the fourth quarter was 194,000 tonnes, marginally lower than the corresponding quarter. Full-year production, however, increased five per cent to 769,000 tonnes from the previous year.

Refined zinc and lead production in the reported quarter was 150,000 tonnes and 20,000 tonnes respectively. Full-year production of zinc and lead was 578,000 tonnes and 72,000 tonnes, an increase of five per cent and 11 per cent respectively over the previous year due to higher operational efficiencies. The new 210-KTPA zinc smelter at Rajpura Dariba and the new 1-MTPA concentrator at Rampura Agucha were commissioned during this quarter — three months ahead of schedule.

Consequently, the total zinc smelting capacity increased to 879 KTPA. Silver production was 1.65 million ounces in the fourth quarter, nine per cent higher than the corresponding period. Full-year silver production was 5.7 million ounces, 34 per cent higher than the previous financial year. Construction activities at the 100-KTPA lead smelter at Dariba and the 160-Mw captive power plant is progressing well for scheduled completion in second quarter of the current financial year, the company said.

It further added the Sindesar Khurd mine project was on schedule for progressive commissioning from first quarter of this financial year. Copper cathode production at the Tuticorin smelter was 80,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter, lower than the corresponding prior quarter, primarily due to low copper grades. Cathode production for 2009-10 was 334,000 tonnes, an increase of seven per cent compared to the previous year.

Aluminium output at record level

Aluminium production in the March quarter was a record 159,000 tonnes, a 19 per cent increase over the corresponding prior quarter. Full-year aluminium production was 533,000 tonnes, 15 per cent higher than the previous year. The increases were mainly on account of 264,000 tonnes contributed by the Jharsuguda aluminium smelter, partially offset on shut down of Balco I smelter in the first quarter.

The Balco II smelter continues to operate above its rated capacity. The company sold 956 million units of power during the quarter, compared to 435 million units sold in the corresponding quarter. This was mainly on account of surplus power from Balco I due to the shut down of aluminium operations, and from the Jharsuguda captive power plant. For the full year, 3,279 million units of power were sold, compared to 882 million units in the previous financial year.

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