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Vedanta Slumps in London on Lower Copper Output in Zambia

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Vedanta Resources Plc, the India-focused metals and oil producer, fell the most in more than two months in London after saying copper output in Zambia declined and iron-ore mining in Karnataka state remains halted.

Vedanta dropped 4.7 percent to close at 1,020 pence, the biggest slump since Aug. 6. Copper production at Vedanta’s unit in Zambia fell 26 percent to 34,000 metric tons in the fiscal second quarter because of a suspension of mining operations, it said in a statement today.

While a court lifted restrictions on Vedanta’s mining in Karnataka, the company still needs “final statutory clearances” to restart “shortly,” it said. Hearings have resumed on a ban on Vedanta’s mining in Goa. Vedanta lowered its forecast for Zambian copper output to 140,000 tons this fiscal year because of a slower ramp up at its Konkola unit. It maintained the production cost at $2.30 a pound.

The forecast cut “will result in small downgrades to our estimates,” Ben Davis, an analyst at Liberum Capital Ltd. in London, said in a note to investors. “The timeframe for possible lifting of the iron-ore ban remains inexplicit, typical for Indian bureaucracy.”

In oil and gas, Vedanta increased its so-called average gross operated production to a record 213,299 barrels a day in the three months ended Sept. 30 from 207,245 a year earlier, it said.

Vedanta was primarily a mine operator before it completed in 2011 the purchase of a controlling stake in oil and gas explorer Cairn India Ltd. for $8.67 billion, giving it access to India’s biggest onshore oilfield.

Refined zinc output fell to 106,000 tons from 114,000 tons, while aluminum production rose 2 percent to 200,000 tons, Vedanta said. Alumina production slumped 43 percent to 116,000 tons after disruptions at the Lanjigarh refinery.

To contact the reporter on this story: Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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