MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Vedanta eyeing Indian gold mines

Published by MAC on 2007-01-15

Vedanta eyeing Indian gold mines

Business Standard Reporter / Kolkata

15th January 2007

The Vedanta group, the eighth largest mining and metal company in the world, is all set for a gold rush in India.

The Anil Agarwal-controlled company already has interest in gold in Australia and Armenia and the next destination could be India, if the government allows gold mining. It might be noted that the Vedanta group is among the world leaders in aluminium, copper, zinc and lead.

The chairman of Vedanta group, Anil Agarwal informed that Sterlite Gold, the company floated for gold mining is keen to start activities in India. Agarwal was in Kolkata on Friday to attend the CSR summit organised by Institute of Directors. According to Agarwal, Sterlite Gold would bid for gold mines like Colar [Kolar] and Bhati, if the Union Government wants to disinvest those. "If the government wants to divest gold mines, we are definitely there," he added.

Elaborating the future plans of the group, Agarwal pointed out that the group would invest close to Rs 15,000 crore in India in its different projects in next 3-4 years. This would be in aluminium, zinc, copper and power. "We are targeting top three slots in mining and metal industry from the current eighth slot. We want to achieve this target in next 4-5 years. We are looking at one million tonne production of metals," he said.

According to Agarwal, the Vedanta group is growing at a rate over 50 per cent for last couple of years.

"From just Rs eight crore turnover in 1987, we shall pay an income tax of close to Rs 2,200 crore in the country this year. This is going to be one of the highest income tax payment by anybody," he said. Commenting on Balco, Agarwal reiterated that the group is keen to buy back remaining 49 per cent stake in the aluminium outfit.

"We have already exercised the call option as mentioned in the agreement. But the government seems not interested. But this will not be a problem as Vedanta group has the management control," he said. Incidentally, Balco currently produces four lakh tonne from just one lakh tonne when Vedanta group acquired the outfit from the government.

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