* Sees total iron ore output at 9.29 mln T in year to March
* Sesa expects most of the iron ore output to be exported
* Confident of finding buyers in China without price cut
(Adds fresh quotes, details)
By Krishna N Das
NEW DELHI, July 3 (Reuters) - India's Sesa Sterlite Ltd
expects its iron ore output to surge six fold this
fiscal year as it resumes production in Goa in September after a
19-month mining ban in the state, an executive of the country's
top private iron ore miner said.
A pick up in production as mines in India's biggest iron
ore-exporting state restart could hurt global prices of the
steelmaking raw material <.IO62-CNI=SI> that have already lost
almost 30 percent this year in an amply supplied world market.
Sesa Sterlite's total iron ore output from India, where it
operates in Goa and neighbouring Karnataka, is expected to reach
9.29 million tonnes in the year to March 2015 from about 1.5
million a year ago, Aniruddha Joshi, a vice president at the
firm, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
Most of the output will be exported as Indian steelmakers
are not keen on buying the low-grade ore from Goa at global
benchmark prices, Joshi said. The country is currently the
world's tenth largest exporter of iron ore.
"It'll suffice to say that only China can use Goan ore,"
Joshi said. "Because it's hematite coarse fines which can be
mixed with very fine concentrates that are only produced in
China in high quantities."
India's Supreme Court in April lifted the ban in Goa that
was aimed at curbing illegal mining, but ordered firms to renew
mining leases and environmental clearances before restarting
work. It also capped Goa's annual output at 20 million tonnes.
Tom Albanese, chief executive of Vedanta Resources Plc
that controls Sesa Sterlite, had earlier said its unit's
operations in Goa would restart around October.
Shares of Sesa Sterlite have surged more than 50 percent
since the ban on mining in Goa was lifted.
Goa rose to become India's biggest iron ore exporter over
the past decade after China's insatiable steel mills started
consuming even inferior grades, prompting many fly-by-night
operators in the state to flourish with scant regard for rules.
But Joshi said Sesa Sterlite had never done anything wrong.
"I've not done anything wrong, no authority has found fault
with any of my operations, and I have done all my applications
properly," he said.
Sesa Sterlite had a capacity to produce about 14.5 million
tonnes in Goa, or one third of the state's average output per
year, before the ban. But now with the court-imposed limit, the
firm's output is likely to be capped at 7 million, Joshi said.
In Karnataka, where there was a similar mining ban until
last year, Sesa Sterlite's production is limited to 2.29 million
tonnes per year, less than half of its original capacity.
Despite the restrictions and an export duty of 30 percent
that pushed India down from being the world's third biggest
exporter of iron ore, Joshi believes the country will still be
able to find buyers in China without having to cut prices.
But the slide in global prices of the raw material has
toughened competition among suppliers to China, prompting even
top miners such as Brazil's Vale and Rio Tinto
to offer discounts.
Joshi accepts that there are challenges.
"The problem is that if the government and courts in India
decide to open the mines and close them at their will, finding a
reliable customer and making them believe us will be tougher
than finding a market."
(Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr; Editing by Himani