India’s Hindustan Copper Aims to Expand Ore Production

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One of India’s largest miners, Hindustan Copper Ltd., is looking to grow in ore production by 25% to 5.15 million tons in fiscal year 2019-2020. The company has set a revenue from operations target of approximately U.S. $286 million, with a capital expenditures of about U.S. $86 million, mostly for mine expansions.

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Besides mining of copper, Hindustan Copper’s other principal activities include concentration of copper ore into copper concentrate through a beneficiation process, in addition to smelting, refining and extruding of the copper concentrate into refined copper.

The state-owned company announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Ministry of Mines to raise copper ore production from 4.12 million tons in 2018-19 to 5.15 million tons, moneycontrol.com reported.

Like steel and iron ore, India’s copper consumption has been steadily going up.

A recent report by the International Copper Study Group for February said while the global mine production had declined by about 1.8% in the first two months of the year, refined usage remained more or less unchanged in the same period. In China and India, demand grew by 4%, but declined in Japan and the United States.

Like in steel, copper in India is under stress from imports.

The latter now account for 38% of the country’s consumption. India has a capacity of 1 million tons in copper, according to the Business Standard, and major players like Vedanta Ltd are about to set up new smelting units.

Likely Fallout of RCEP

India is on the verge of formally signing what’s called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Domestic copper producers have raised concerns to the Indian government regarding the potential fallout from signing this agreement.

RCEP is an economic gathering of 16 nations, which includes China. India’s trade with RCEP countries is amounts to approximately $100 billion, according to the Business Standard.

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When RCEP is signed, the Indian government is likely to keep 10% of the items under exempt list while opening up the rest of the goods. The Indian Primary Copper Producers Association has asked the government to keep key metals like copper and aluminum on RCEP’s exempt list.

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