Vedanta's zinc unit gets helping hand from China, Q1 earnings rise

* Q1 core earnings rise 48 pct

* Demand from China boosts production at Indian unit

* Q1 revenue rises 32 pct to $3.08 bln

Diversified miner Vedanta Resources' first-quarter core earnings rose about 48 percent on higher zinc production, with renewed demand for the metal driven by higher steel production in China.

The company, which mines zinc in India, South Africa and Namibia, reported an 84 percent jump in mined metal content, mainly of zinc, at its Indian unit to 233,000 tonnes for the first quarter to June 30.

Zinc is used to galvanise steel to protect it from rusting and steel producing countries such as China have ramped up production this year to support construction growth.

A jump in production boosted revenue at Vedanta's Indian unit by about 90 percent to $695 million. This underpinned the parent company's results. Vendanta's output hit a monthly record in July at 74.02 million tonnes boosted by demand for steel-making ingredient zinc as mills ramped up production even as Beijing intensified its war on smog.

Vedanta's bounce back follows a couple of hard year when it was hit by weak commodities prices and debt. Investors have also worried about Vedanta's legal action in connection with pollution in Zambia.

Its shares were up 1.6 percent at 785 pence at 0728 GMT on the London Stock Exchange. While its shares have fallen around 20 percent this year, they have outperformed the wider STOXX Basic Resources index since the end of June, Reuters data showed. (

Vedanta said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose to $777.8 million in the first quarter, from $527.1 million a year earlier.

The company, which also produces iron ore, copper, aluminium and oil, said revenue rose 32 percent to $3.08 billion in the quarter, beating Jefferies estimates by about 2 percent.

Vedanta has said it is well placed, with its zinc mines and it also produces aluminium – meaning it produces two other materials used in light, low carbon transport.

The group is also exploring ways to produce cobalt for use in batteries amid an anticipated electric vehicle boom.

(Reporting by Sanjeeban Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Susan Thomas)