Vedanta mulls options for Goa mine workers
business. It added, however, that the Goa ore business would not have “any material impact” on the overall profitability of the group.
One of the sources close to the company said Vedanta typically does not fire workers, but keeping on all employees without generating sales would be difficult. The sources did not give any timeline for any action, but added the company might also offer to retain them without pay.
In response to Reuters questions on its plans for the workforce, Sangeetha Chakravarthy, a spokeswoman for Vedanta’s Goa iron ore business, said in a statement: “We have moved some of our personnel to other units across the country, however that is a small fraction of the total workforce impacted by the mining ban. As of now, employees are being paid. However, this is not indefinitely sustainable in the absence of any revenue.” The company, the biggest miner in Goa with an annual production of around 5.5 million tonnes before the shutdown, said it spends Rs 12,000 crore ($1.77 million) a month on salaries of its employees in the state.
Prasanna Acharya, head of Goa’s Directorate of Mines and Geology, was not immediately available for comment, his office said.
Chakravarthy said Vedanta’s Goa employees had been told not to report to work, but added the company had retained its workforce during previous court and government-imposed mining bans between 2012 and 2015.
Several small, unlisted companies were also affected by the ban.
“The court order came as a rude shock but companies by and large have retained their direct employees, in the hope that things will be worked out,” said Glenn Kalavampara, secretary of the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association. “But for how long can they keep them?”
Vedanta’s India business, run through its local unit Vedanta Ltd, has been a target of environmentalists for years. The southern state of Tamil Nadu shut down its copper smelter on environmental grounds following the police shootings at a demonstration.