Vedanta mulls op­tions for Goa mine work­ers

Financial Chronicle - - MONEY GAME -

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.

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