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No revision in Sesa Goa financial forecast

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, July 25

SESA Goa Ltd (SGL), currently facing suspended operations at two of its major iron ore mines, has not yet revised its budgeted targets for the current fiscal.

A senior company official, who did not wish to disclose the financial targets set for the year, ascribed the absence of any revision in forecast figures to continued hope that the ongoing strike by workers at SGL's Codli and Sonshi mines would be resolve d.

The immediate impact of the agitation is delay in `` developing'' the mines -- an industry reference to preparing the mines during the monsoon for the iron-ore export season which commences after the rains, in September. ``Work is behind schedule,'' the official said.

SGL is Goa's biggest iron-ore exporter. It is understood that the State Chief Minister is keen on resolving the impasse at the earliest, given the large number of workers involved.

In a second instalment of the workers' agitation following the first strike of about 20 days in May 2001, SGL's mining operations in Goa have been hit since July 7, when violent mine workers assaulted a company manager.

The two mines, where operations have been suspended contribute to almost all of SGL's mining volume of over four million tonnes in Goa. The company's other mines in Karnataka and Orissa cumulatively fetch an additional volume of less than one million ton nes.

Last year, SGL exported slightly less than five million tonnes of iron ore. For 2001-2002, the targeted mining volume is more or less the same.

While unionised labour at the Codli and Sonshi mines is roughly 800-strong, operations elsewhere in SGL such as its ore processing (benefication) plant and its pig iron and metallurgical coke subsidiaries are normal, the official said.

Notwithstanding SGL's offer of hike in mine workers' salaries, entailing an additional expense of Rs 2,000 per head for the company, the reason cited publicly for the strike is still-wage settlement.

However, of a greater bearing on the issue is said to be the workers' reluctance to comply with SGL's need for a third-shift in operations.

Related links:
Sesa Goa workers go on 72-hr strike

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