Hindustan Copper Ltd is planning to issue a tender for the appointment of a Mine Developer cum Operator (MDO) to reopen and expand the Rakha Copper Mine in Jharkhand. The company recently held a stakeholders’ conference in June to address queries and concerns related to the reopening and expansion of the mine.
Arun Kumar Shukla, Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Copper, stated that the project is expected to involve a capital expenditure of approximately ₹2,000 crore over the next few years. The Rakha mine has been closed since 2000, and the government of Jharkhand has recently given consent to renew the lease. However, the company still needs to complete other statutory processes, including obtaining environmental and forest clearances.
Shukla mentioned that due to the significant capital requirements of the project, Hindustan Copper is seeking to engage an MDO. The project is estimated to attract an investment of around ₹2,000 crore spread over the coming years.
In the current fiscal year, Hindustan Copper has allocated close to ₹450 crore for the expansion and development of mines. In 2022-23, the company incurred a capital expenditure of approximately ₹385 crore. To partially fund Phase I of its proposed expansion from 3.97 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 12.2 mtpa, Hindustan Copper raised approximately ₹500 crore through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) in 2021. It has utilized around ₹207 crore of the raised funds. The board has recently approved a QIP of ₹500 crore and non-convertible debentures (NCD) of ₹500 crore, pending shareholder approval.
Hindustan Copper anticipates a 10% growth in production during the current fiscal year. The company has shifted from open-cast mining to underground mining, leading to a temporary stagnation in production. It has also focused on depth exploration within its mining lease areas. With the completion of the crusher replacement in the Kolihan mines last year, the company expects uninterrupted and increased production of copper concentrate in the Khetri Copper Complex in Rajasthan.
Shukla highlighted that copper has been included in the government’s list of 30 critical minerals, and he emphasized the importance of increasing per capita consumption of copper in India, which currently stands at around 500 grams per person per year. He believes that the inclusion of copper in the critical minerals list will give it the recognition it deserves.
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