Vedanta group firm Sesa Goa today said it expects mining operations in Karnataka to begin "soon" as it has submitted reclamation and resettlement (R&R) plan for its mine in Chitradurga district to an apex court appointed panel that is looking into the illegal mining issues in the state.
Closure of operations in Karnataka due to a mining ban imposed by the Supreme Court last year has led to a decline of 27% in iron ore miner's production in 2011-12.
Sesa Goa has reported a decline of 36% in its consolidated net profit to Rs 2,695.50 crore for 2011-12.
"We have submitted our reclamation and resettlement [R&R] plan. It has to be vetted and approved. Then we have been asked to go to MoEF [Ministry of Environment and Forests] again for environmental clearance. So, we hope to begin mining Karnataka soon but my guess would be as good as yours," Sesa Goa's Managing Director PK Mukherjee said.
He added that post-approval the plan can be implemented in a month's time and production can start immediately once the ban is lifted.
"Reports say that mining may resume by June-July but it depends on the Supreme Court. As and when it resumes, we are ready to begin productions," he said.
Approval and implementation of R&R plan is the foremost condition put by the Supreme Court, that allowed resuming partial mining in Karnataka last week.
As per this, mining can begin in such mines that have been categorised as A & B -- having 50 hectares or more area-- by the Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) with proper R&R plan in place.
The conditions include every individual mine owner giving an undertaking to strictly comply with the provisions of the R&R plan. This includes keeping within the permissible annual production set by CEC and not extending mining into unbroken forest areas.
Sesa Goa's mine in Chitradurga district, that has a production capacity of 6 million tonne per annum, falls in Category-B of the CEC list.
Mukherjee said that the implementation of the R&R plan would require less than Rs 10 crore investment for the company, while the penalty, proposed by the CEC, would be less than Rs 10 crore.
"CEC has proposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore to companies which have mining pit outside the lease area and Rs 1 crore for encroachments in the nature of dumps or roads in Bellary region.
"So, going by that, the penalty works out to be less than Rs 10 crore. Plus, our investments, on account of R&R plan implementation, would be less than Rs 10 crore," he said.