Vedanta in production boost

Indian-focussed miner Vedanta saw record aluminium production in its fourth quarter and a 29 per cent jump in refined zinc from its Indian operations, helping it take advantage of rising metal prices.

Output of refined zinc, the group's most profitable product, was 194,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter ended March 2011 from its Indian mines, with production at its Skorpion Zinc mine in Namibia totalling 37,000 tonnes in the three months.

Fourth-quarter production of saleable iron ore, its second most profitable product, was hit by a ban on shipments from the Indian state of Karnataka. Production fell 21 percent to 5.5 million tonnes.

India's top court earlier this week lifted the ban on iron ore shipments from the southern state.

Aluminium output in the fourth quarter rose 7 percent to 170,000 tonnes.

Vedanta is still awaiting Indian approval for the long-delayed purchase of Cairn Energy's (CNE.L) Cairn India unit (CAIL.BO). The Indian government had been expected to reach a decision on Wednesday, but instead referred the matter to a panel for further review.

The two companies have extended the date by which all conditions may be completed or waived to May 20.