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Vedanta job cuts in Zambia to touch 2,000

world Updated: May 10, 2009 13:41 IST

Metal czar Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources will cut 1,300 jobs at its site in Zambia, taking up the total redundancies to 2,000, as part of its efforts to cut operational costs amid crashing commodity prices.

"...The second programme of manpower reduction is under progress right now, which is (for) around 1,300 people," KCM Director Operations Jeyakumar Janakraj said during an analyst call conference, but did not give a time frame.

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is owned by Vedanta Resources Plc. As part of its measure to tame high operational costs KCM had shut its Nkana smelter in February, rendering 700 people jobless.
The company feels the proposed job cuts would help it further overcome the "negative aspect" of the high production costs in its operations in the African country.

The metal and mining major has already cut its production cost at KCM by about 50 per cent to 1.4 dollar per pound by undertaking cost reduction programme, which included the closure of the smelter.

"The cost that stood at H1 numbers of $2.93 per pound has been brought down to a level of $1.4 per pound, which is around 140 cents per pound by various actions on the ground," he said.

Vedanta Resources had earlier said it is looking to rationalise its workforce and reduce overall costs in its operations by 30 per cent to tide over the economic downturn.

Apart from cutting jobs, Vedanta intends to reduce its overall expenses by adopting efficient practices at workplace and harmonising fresh intake of employees in tune with its expansion plans.

It is also adhering to efficient mining and wastage reduction programmes to reduce its production costs.

As prices of its products like copper, zinc, aluminium and iron ore fell by about 60 per cent compared to the early 2008 levels, the conglomerate posted a 75 per cent dip in its profit to $219.4 million for the year-ended March 31, 2009.

The NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal-led group had recorded a profit of $879 million in the same period a year ago.