The Copper Industry in India

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Copper Industry in India

Copper is one of the most widely used metals in India and its usage is next only to steel and aluminium in volume terms. Domestic consumption of refined copper is estimated at around 600,000 tonnes for 2012-13 and this constitutes roughly 3% of the global usage. Per capita consumption of copper (including refined and recycled) in India is low at around 0.5 kg, as against a world average of 2.7 kg.

India is a major importer of copper ore and concentrates and is a net exporter of refined copper. The country has limited reserves of copper ore and the reserves are mainly located in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. Production of copper ore stood at around 3.6 million tonnes and that of concentrates stood at around 124,000 tonnes in 2012-13

Till 1997, Hindustan Copper Limited, a Government of India company was the only integrated producer of primary refined copper in India with a capacity of 51,500 tonnes per annum. Subsequently, private sector companies such as Hindalco Copper Ltd., Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. and Jhagadia Copper Ltd., set up smelters thereby increasing the installed capacity of refined copper to 1 million tonnes.

The production of copper cathodes is estimated at 493,000 tonnes for 2012-13 and grew at an average rate of around 3% during the last decade. Hindalco is the major producer of copper cathodes in the country and contributes to around 65% of the total production. Downstream sector of copper includes value-added products such as sheet, strip, foil, wire rod, wire, etc. Hindalco and Sterlite are the major producers of copper Continuous Cast Wire Rods (CCWR). The domestic demand for copper cathodes is expected to increase at 5 to 6% per annum in the coming years, primarily driven by power, building & construction and the engineering sectors.

Copper Industry Demand

The copper industry in India is set to expand its capacity – Hindustan Copper plans to invest INR 18.6 billion to set up underground copper mine in Madhya Pradesh. Further, Sterlite Copper Ltd. plans to invest INR 25 billion to expand its refined copper capacity at their plant located in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.