Sesa Sterlite Plans Iron Ore Sales From Reopened Indian Mines

Sesa Sterlite Ltd., which restarted its iron ore mines in southern India last month, will shortly resume sales of the steelmaking ingredient from the region after a halt of more than two years.

The company plans to start auctioning iron ore mined in the state of Karnataka “anytime now”, Prasun Kumar Mukherjee, executive director at Sesa Sterlite said in an e-mail. The company, which was the biggest Indian exporter of the commodity until court-ordered bans, may sell about 100,000 metric tons of ore in its first offering, he said.

Sesa Sterlite, controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, saw revenue from its iron ore business collapse after the nation’s courts ordered mining bans in the western state of Goa in October 2012 and Karnataka in August 2011, as part of probes into illegal mining and environmental degradation.

Iron ore mining accounted for 98 percent of earnings at Sesa Goa Ltd., which in August merged with sister company and zinc, copper and aluminum producer Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. to form Sesa Sterlite.

Mining in Goa is still suspended although companies have been allowed to sell inventory. The resumption in Karnataka will help ease shortages faced by local steelmakers.

The company, owned by London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, has approval to produce as much as 2.29 million tons of iron ore a year, Mukherjee said on Dec. 30. Output in the first three months of 2014 may reach 1.2 million to 1.5 million tons from the restarted Karnataka mines, he said.

Shares of Sesa Sterlite fell 0.4 percent to 209.70 rupees as of 11:30 a.m. in Mumbai. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was little changed.

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