Vedanta group firm Sesa Goa will begin exploration later this week at its Liberian iron ore project that is estimated to hold reserves of over 1 billion tonnes, a top company official said.
Last year, the company had acquired 51 per cent stake in Western Clusters Ltd, that is developing the project for about USD 90 million (Rs 411 crore). This was the first overseas acquisition of the Vedanta group miner.
“We have got the licences for all the three blocks. First rig arrived last week and exploration will begin later this week,” Sesa Goa Managing Director P K Mukherjee told PTI.
He added the company has completed the aeromagnetic survey of the Liberian iron ore reserves and Sesa Goa’s capital expenditure plan for the project will be known in next 2-3 months.
“We are bullish on it… Exploration is about to begin and we will get the idea about the reserves in 2-3 months,” Mukherjee said, adding that “we would come to know the broad contours of the capex only by then”.
Two days back, the Goa-based miner had said the resource base at the mines are much more than earlier estimated 1 billion tonnes.
Stating that the company is maintaining its guidance of first shipment from the project by March, 2014, Mukherjee said that investments in Liberia will be spread over 2-3 years.
Excluding Liberia, the company has kept a capex of Rs 600 crore for its existing and expansion activities in the current fiscal.
Besides, the iron ore miner has kept a production and sales guidance of 15 million tonnes (MT) from Goa in the current fiscal, the Sesa Goa MD said.
He, however, declined to put any numbers for Karnataka, where the company has a 6-MT mine in Chitradurga district but operations are closed due to an apex court imposed mining ban in the state.
“It all depends on what directions we get from the Supreme Court,” Mukherjee said, adding that company can begin productions immediately as and when it resumes in the state.
Last year, the company added 68 million tonnes of reserves and resource, thereby taking its total mining reserve base to 374 MT.
Courtesy : ET