The Supreme Court (SC) has concluded hearings in the Karnataka mining case that banned companies from carrying out production activities in the state.
Metal producers have been waiting for the SC judgement for nearly one-and-half year and have incurred losses due to the ban.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18, PK Mukherjee, managing director, Sesa Goa said that his company is eagerly waiting for the SC order. The company's mines fall in the category B mines, which are next in line to reopen. However, mining in Goa may resume after some time.
Due to the ongoing ban in Karnataka and in Goa, the company could not produce iron-ore in December quarter. The Vedanta group company also had to defer around 10-25 percent of senior staff salaries in January this year as it found it difficult to maintain topline growth on the back of mining ban.
Below is the verbatim transcript of PK Mukherjee's interview on CNBC-TV18
Q: When do you expect the next set of hearings both for Karnataka and Goa? Has any level of clearance been achieved for both these states for Sesa Goa?
A: Karnataka hearing has been concluded for the time being. We are awaiting the order eagerly and hope it will be pronounced soon. Once the order is pronounced, we would be able to resume production immediately.
In case of Goa, no dates of hearing have been given yet, although it has been listed many times. Some changes in the bench are on the cards during the middle of this month. Post that, the hearing may resume.
Q: Can you update us on the merger with Sterlite? What kind of developments are you expecting next and by when can that be activated?
A: The Bombay High Court, Goa bench has already pronounced the order in favour of full merger. We are waiting for the order from the Madras High Court. Until the Madras High Court order is received, the whole amalgamation is not complete. Once that is announced, we will submit the copy of the court orders to the company’s top authorities. We have to follow those compliances and then Sesa-Sterlite will come into existence.
Q: On the back of Karnataka and Goa hearing, what kind of sales volumes can Sesa Goa expect for this calendar year or for FY14? Have you worked out any estimates and how do you hope to achieve it?
A: As far as Karnataka is concerned, we would be able to resume production soon. Since the capacity has already been limited to less than 40 percent of our rated capacity, that is no more a concern. We will be able to achieve 2.3 million tonne in FY14 in Karnataka easily. In case of Goa, it will depend on at what time, what order we get. In Goa, our total capacity is 14 million.
On annual basis, excluding the monsoon, in eight to nine months, we produce and export that volume and will be working exactly the same. Since the missionaries and plans are remaining ideal for the last almost eight months now, it will take some time to resume. But that will not come in way of achieving the scale, whatever scale we are allowed to operate.