Vedanta's Iron Ore division (formerly known as Sesa Sterlite Ltd) shipped its first cargo of iron ore on Monday, after resuming mining operations at its Codli, Bicholim and Surla mines in Goa.
The first shipment of 88,000 tonnes of iron ore has been exported to China through the vessel ''Ao Hong Ma''.
Vedanta's iron ore division is the first iron ore mining company to start operations in Goa after government ended three years of mining ban.
''Vedanta has taken the lead and I am hopeful that all other miners will follow suit. After a blanket ban of three years, the first vessel of Vedanta's Sesa Goa Iron Ore is flagged today. Vedanta took the initiative and adopted a proactive approach, to fulfill their promise. Further, they have kept the work force motivated during trying times. This is the need of the hour and I wish them great success in their endeavors,'' said Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
The minister noted that it was a trying time for the mining industry and the people of Goa due to the mining ban.
The industry still faces many hurdles of taxation, dumping outside lease area, and increase in production capacity, he said, adding that these could be solved only by the support and cooperation of all stakeholders, especially the truck and barge owners.
''This achievement of resuming operations after three years of suspension on mining activity, is with multiple challenges. Iron ore prices are in free fall and are nose-diving. We also are faced with an arduous task of recovering our fixed costs and look forward to a complete utilisation of the manpower and resources. We are positive that we will overcome the tough times with the support of the government and all other stakeholders of the industry and well positioned to achieve our production target,'' said Kishore Kumar, CEO, Vedanta's Iron Ore division.
Goa, at the peak of mining activity, contributed $7.5 billion to the nation's foreign exchange kitty. Vedanta's Iron Ore division expects to mine 5.5 million tonnes of fresh iron ore from its mines in Goa.
The low grade ore from Goa's mines is not used by domestic steel makers, and most of it will be exported by March 2016.
The company is also seeking more production capacity allowance from the government, which is now capped at 20 million tonnes per annum in the state.
''Issues of removal of export duty for low grade iron and dumping of overburden and waste outside the lease area need quick resolution if the mining industry has to go full steam in Goa,'' Vedanta stated in a release.
Vedanta Limited is a diversified natural resources company, whose business primarily involves exploring and processing minerals and oil and gas.
The company produces oil and gas, zinc, lead, silver, copper, iron ore, aluminium and commercial power and has a presence across India, South Africa, Namibia, Ireland, Australia, Liberia and Sri Lanka.