Vedanta Ltd is keen on the next stage of investments in India as it “sees a potential for faster growth trajectory than in its international businesses,” says Tom Albanese, CEO.
Albanese, who is in Chennai to participate in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, says apart from the strong promise in mineral discovery and development of mining assets, “there is a lot of strength in India to make us want to invest”.
Vedanta’s next stage of investment plan is on the anvil, but there are immediate plans to step up output across the board, including mining, aluminium production and copper smelting. These will help to better exploit capacities and utilise the investments done over the recent years.
The factors contributing to Albanese’s optimism are improvements in the policy environment as compared with three year back; shifts in the international market scene as metal prices stabilise and demand grows; and opportunities for long term sustainable growth in the domestic market for copper.
Over $8 billion investments have been done over the last decade in aluminium smelting, associated power plants but are unutilised because of the legal and policy issues. But as of April 2016, these have been “unblocked”.
Over the next couple of years, Vedanta expects to increase output from about 900,000 tonnes to over 2.3 million tonnes. Iron mining, which had come to a halt in Goa and Karnataka, has started last year with an ore output now at about 900,000 tonnes a month. “I would like to see us double iron ore production fast,’ he asserted.
Expansion plans of the smelting unit at its plant in Tamil Nadu are at a “technically advanced stage" and the Union Environment Ministry has cleared the project.
Vedanta Ltd is also strong on the zinc output front with "global consensus being that zinc prices will strengthen in the next three years. Vedanta is "well positioned to participate in the upside."
The group company Hindustan Zinc Ltd’s output of zinc and lead at about 950,000 tonnes will increase to over 1.2 million tonnes over the next two years. Its zinc mines are in the middle of an expansion phase.
Vedanta's international business contributes about 200,000 tonnes of zinc annually.
Mining is a long term business with a 50-year horizon. It is important that the “rule of law” is strong which makes it possible for long investments with the company.
Stakeholder acceptance and government approvals are inherent to the development of resource-based industries. This is common to all countries such as Africa, Australia and India.
"We are patient and will responsibly follow the processes," for a sustainable growth.