London: India-focused miner Vedanta posted a 61% drop in saleable iron ore output in its second quarter, hit by a ban on mining in Karnataka, though sales fell by a smaller amount due to high volumes sold before the curb.
The ban is part of efforts by the key iron ore producing Karnataka to control illegal mining. Vedanta said the court had ordered a study by government agencies and was allowing the sale of inventory by auction.
File photo of iron ore mining facility in Bellary and Ananthapur in Karnataka.
Iron ore is typically Vedanta’s most profitable product along with zinc, accounting for almost a third of profits.
The miner, which bought three iron ore assets in emerging producer Liberia in August, said its iron ore production fell to 1.12 million tonnes, from 2.88 million tonnes in the same period a year ago. Sales totalled 1.55 million tonnes, from 1.82 million a year ago.
Vedanta said its refined zinc production from its core Indian operations rose 5% in the second quarter to the end of September to 185,000 tonnes, largely thanks to better performance at its smelters.
Aluminium production was down 8% at 149,000 tonnes in the quarter after the outage at Vedanta’s Jharsuguda-I smelter, which remains on track to resume normal capacity by the end of its third quarter. It warned production costs had increased due to higher input prices and maintenance.
Indian and Australian copper cathode production increased 28%, while Zambian copper cathodes fell 10%.