India’s Sesa Goa to Begin Exploring Liberian Mines Soon

Sesa Goa, India’s largest private-sector producer and exporter of iron ore, has plans to begin exploration work sometime later this week in the Liberia’s mines for an iron ore project, reports Business Line.

According to the report, in August 2011, Sesa had acquired a 51-percent stake in Western Cluster Limited, Liberia (WCL), which has mining interests/rights in the Western Cluster iron ore project in Liberia for Rs 4.11 billion ($82.2 million).

WCL has potential reserves and resources of over 1 billion metric tons. This was the first overseas acquisition of the Vedanta group miner.

The report quoted P. K. Mukherjee, Sesa Goa’s managing director, as saying that licenses for three blocks are ready and the exploration work is expected to start in a week. Aeromagnetic surveys of the ore area were completed and Sesa Goa’s expenditures for the entire project will be known in 2-3 months, Mukherjee was quoted as saying.

Sesa Goa is a majority-owned and controlled subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc, the London-listed FTSE 100 diversified metals and mining major.

For more than five decades, Sesa has been involved in iron ore exploration, mining, beneficiation and exports. On the domestic front, Sesa has iron ore mining operations in Goa and Karnataka.

Sesa is also into manufacturing pig iron and metallurgical coke. In Goa, Sesa operates a met coal plant with an installed capacity of 280,000 tons per year; and a pig iron plant with an installed capacity of 250,000 tons per year and an environmental clearance of 292,000 tons per year of pig iron and 60,000 tons per year of slag.

In fiscal 2011, the company produced 18.8 million and 18.1 million dry metric tons, respectively, of iron ore. In the same year, its turnover was above US $2 billion.

According to an official statement issued by the company, Sesa’s sales of iron ore in Q4 were 5.2 million tons as compared with 6.6 million tons (6.4 million tons excluding Orissa) in the corresponding prior quarter due to the continued mining ban in Karnataka, and transport and logistics bottlenecks in Goa.

The company claims that it is expanding existing roads and establishing road corridors at Goa to reduce these bottlenecks, according to the statement. For the full year, sales were 16 million tons as compared with 18.1 million tons (16.4 million tons excluding Orissa) during the corresponding prior year.

At Karnataka, the company sold 0.2 million tons and 0.9 million tons during Q4 and H2, respectively, through the Court-sponsored e-auctions of inventory.

Iron ore production in Q4 was lower by 11 percent at 4.9 million tons. Production for the full year was 13.8 million tons compared with 18.8 million tons (17.4 million tons excluding Orissa) in the previous year. Volumes were lower primarily due to the Karnataka mining ban and the discontinuation of Orissa operations.

Expansions of the pig iron capacity to 625,000 tons per year and coking coal capacity to 560,000 tons per year are progressing well and will be commissioned in the current quarter.

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