Reuters | Oct 8, 2010 | 7:18pm IST
Oil and Natural Gas Corp said it would issue its response to Cairn Energy’s plans to sell a controlling stake in its Indian unit to Vedanta Resources "very soon.” The company is also in talks with the Indian government about the royalties it must pay on the fields it co-owns with Cairn India, and hopes that it will find an outcome, which limits its liability — potentially at the expense of Cairn or Vedanta.
"We have been raising that issue… we are in discussions with the Petroleum Ministry and the Finance Ministry," said Chairman R.S. Sharma. "I’m very positive that we will be able to get a solution to our satisfaction." Following an exemption offered some years ago to encourage companies to explore in India; Cairn is not liable for royalties, while ONGC must pay royalties on the oil blocks.
Reuters | Oct 7, 2010 | 3:24pm IST
India-focused miner Vedanta, which posted mixed second quarter output data, has postponed expansion of aluminium operations after India rejected a plan to mine the raw material to make the metal. In August, India denied London-listed Vedanta a permit to mine bauxite in Orissa over environmental concerns. "Since final clearance was not granted for bauxite mining at Niyamgiri, we have reviewed our capital expenditure programme," Vedanta said in its quarterly production report.
The impact on capex was tentatively estimated at $1.5 million to $2.0 billion over the next two years, chief executive Mahendra Mehta told a conference call. The launch of the second phase at the Jharsuguda smelter and a new Korba smelter were being temporarily deferred as well as work on an expansion of its bauxite refinery.
In September, the environment ministry said it had found serious violations at Vedanta’s refinery that uses bauxite to make alumina, an intermediate product. Vedanta, which is continuing to operate the plant at a production rate of 1 million tonnes per year, had planned to expand the refinery’s annual output to 6 million tonnes.
Vedanta shares rose 0.6 percent to 2237 pence by 0906 GMT, compared to a 0.4 percent fall in the British mining index. The shares have underperformed the mining index by 23 percent this year as the group has been hit with setbacks. "On balance (the news) is negative, but most of this bad news was already known to the market and the expansion cuts should come as no surprise," said analyst Andy Davidson at Numis Securities in London.
PTI | Sep 15, 3010 | 09:43 PM
As the fate of its USD 1.7 billion bauxite-mining unit proposed in Orissa hangs in balance, Vedanta Resources today denied violating any laws in connection with the project while replying to the show-cause notices served by the environment ministry. "Vedanta Aluminium Ltd has submitted its reply along with supporting documents to both the show cause notices issued by the ministry on August 31," said Mukesh Kumar, chief operating officer (Lanjigarh) of the firm.
"Once again Vedanta would like to reiterate that no violation has been done by it on any account and Vedanta is a law abiding company and have high respect for the law of the land," he said in a statement here. However, officials in the environment ministry maintained that they were yet to receive the reply from the company.
The ministry had served the show-cause notices on the company based on a report submitted by the NC Saxena panel, which had accused the company of violating a host of regulations at the site. The UK-based Vedanta Resources has been
Article first published as Indiaâ€™s Government Paper Proposes Weakening FDI Rules on Technorati.
The Commerce and Industry Ministry on Friday, released proposals for discussion on whether to abolish foreign investment caps imposed on the companies invested in joint ventures in India prior to the year 2005. The discussion paper released is said to be a part of series of papers released by the ministry as a measure to attract more FDIs. Such papers also inform foreign investors how the Government of India is changing over time the policies and priorities.
Before 2005, there was a rule for the companies who tied up with Indian partners in joint ventures to seek approval from the federal government before bidding for expansion outside the tie-up. The problem is that the policy was reviewed in 2005 after which the rule exempted the companies that invested after 2005 from seeking approval for further expansion of their own. This is clearly observed as discrimination between the companies entered India before and after 2005.
Vedanta’s Acquisition Bid
Maybe the recent bid by Vedanta Resources to acquire Cairn India, a subsidiary of the U.K. based Cairn, prompted the ministry to release the discussion paper. It is a common practice in India that when the government intends a policy review, it would first release discussion papers to identify the opposition so that it can calm them properly. Cairn India has a tie-up with ONGC, a public sector oil exploration company, in its biggest oil well in Rajasthan State. Cairn India holds 70% stake and ONGC the rest in it.
India focused Vedanta Resources made a highest bid for Cairn India of $9.6 billion and sought the government’s approval which is still pending. When the matter came to light there were huge expectations that the ONGC might
MSN | IANS | 04/09/2010
Politics over mega projects by South Korean steel major POSCO and Vedanta and others intensified further with the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and opposition Congress in Orissa trading charges against each other Friday. The youth wings of the BJD organized a massive rally christened ‘Save Orissa’ near the Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi district. Participating in the rally, party leaders accused the central government of blocking various projects in the state for political interest. Large number of senior party leaders including ministers, members of parliament, and legislators were seen at the meeting, although Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik preferred to stay away.
‘The central government led by the Congress has hatched a conspiracy to block various developmental and industrial projects in the state. The Congress is shedding crocodile tears for tribals,’ state Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai said. ‘The BJD government has been working sincerely for the welfare of the tribals. Only the BJD can protect the interest of the tribals, backwards and Scheduled Castes people. It is evident from various welfare measures that the government has taken in the past,’ he said.
Reuters | Aug 26, 2010 | 3:28pm IST
In New Delhi, about 15,000 flag-waving, slogan-shouting farmers squatted at a square near parliament after where police stopped them. Traffic in central Delhi remained gridlocked for hours. “Why is the government putting pressure on us to vacate our land? Land is our mother, We will die but not give our land,” said Vinod, a protesting farmer who gave only one name. These protests are the latest in a string of violence over government efforts to acquire farmland for industry in India, where two-thirds of the 1.2 billion population is dependent on agriculture and where land is a farmer’s only social security.
Farmers’ protests have put on hold 230 tax-free export zones and multi-billion investments by ArcelorMittal, South Korea’s POSCO and Tata Steel, according to government figures. Protests over mining on tribal land in Orissa led this week to the government scrapping plans of UK-based Continue reading
BBC News | 24 August 2010 | 06:54 GMT
A four-member panel, which investigated alleged violations of environmental laws by Vedanta in Orissa’s Kalahandi district, gave its report to the ministry last week. It said that allowing mining in the area would deprive two tribal groups – the Kutia and Dongria Kondh – of their rights over the site for the benefit of a private company. It said that would “shake the faith” of tribal people in the laws of the land. The report concluded that the mine would destroy some 7 sq km (2.7 sq miles) of forest land and threaten the tribe’s survival.The Dongria Kondh say the mining project will destroy a major part of the Niyamgiri hill, which they consider sacred and a source of livelihood. Continue reading