| NEW DELHI, March 11
NEW DELHI, March 11 Indian metals producer Sesa
Sterlite said it may have to cut jobs if a top court
sets a limit on the amount of iron ore it can mine in the state
of Goa when and if it allows mining to restart in what used to
be the country's top exporter.
India's Goa state expects to resume mining before the
monsoon that starts in June, its chief minister said last month.
A panel appointed by the Supreme Court is due to give its
recommendation on the issue by March 15.
A blanket ban on production and exports imposed in late 2012
to stop illegal mining, coupled with a similar step in
neighbouring Karnataka, have cut India's exports of the ore by
85 percent, or 100 million tonnes, over the past two years.
"If our production is set at 70 percent of our current
capacity, for example, we'll have to look at reducing our
manpower by 30 percent and so on," Aniruddha Joshi, a vice
president at the company, said, adding that making redundancies
was just one option.
"Options available would be firing people, allowing people to
retire and reusing them in other operations."
Sesa Sterlite, a unit of billionaire Anil Agarwal-controlled
Vedanta Resources Plc, employs about 3,200 in Goa and
had a capacity to produce 14.5 million tonnes of ore before the
Sesa Sterlite sent a notice to lay off 1,050 employees in
Goa, a proposal that was rejected by both federal labour
ministry and the state's labour department.
The mining restrictions in Goa and Karnataka is already
estimated to have cut 200,000 jobs, according to industry group
the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries. Some companies have
shed their iron ore businesses too.
Although the mining ban in Karnataka was lifted in April
last year, only a few mines have reopened pending forest
clearances, delays in renewal of leases and other issues.
But Goa's chief minister said in February that once the
Supreme Court gives its go-ahead, the state will ensure other
hurdles are cleared sooner.
Goa could produce 25 million tonnes of iron ore per year on
a "sustainable basis", Manohar Parrikar had said. Its exports
hit about 50 million tonnes in the 2010-11 fiscal year, with
most of that going to China.