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Vedanta May Get Government Notice Today for Violating Rules

Vedanta Resources Plc, whose plan to mine bauxite in India was blocked by the government, may today receive a notice from the Environment Ministry for breaching norms at the expansion site of its alumina refinery.

“There have been serious violations,” Minister Jairam Ramesh said yesterday in an interview at his New Delhi office. “There have also been some procedural violations in its existing refinery,” he said, referring to the 1 million metric ton facility at Lanjigarh in eastern Orissa state.

Vedanta, controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, won approval from the Orissa government on Aug. 10 to implement a 375 billion rupee ($8.5 billion) expansion of its Lanjigarh alumina refinery. Two weeks later, the Environment Ministry said in August Vedanta’s existing refinery may be sourcing bauxite from mines without environmental approvals and asked Vedanta to justify why the permit for the refinery should not be canceled.

The company has replied to the ministry, said Mukesh Kumar, chief operating officer of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd., the company’s Indian unit. A notice may be sent to the company as early as today, Ramesh said yesterday.

Vedanta will cut its investments by as much as $2 billion in the next two years after failing to get clearance to mine bauxite at the Niyamgiri hills in the state, Chief Executive Officer Mahendra Singh Mehta said Oct. 7. The capital expenditure revision “will have an impact of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion,” Mehta said, clarifying the numbers were tentative.

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