Copper Exploration Activities in India

India has estimated copper ore resources of 1.39 billion tonnes with 26.5% falling under the proved and probable category, while the balance 73.5% feature under the feasibility, pre-feasibility, measured, indicated and inferred categories.

Rajasthan has the largest resources of copper ore in India, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. In fact, these three states account for around 93% of the total copper ore reserves with Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Orissa, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal accounting for the remaining 7%.

GSI, MECL, DMG Rajasthan and GMD Nagaland are the major agencies involved in the exploration of copper ore in India. GSI estimated a resource of 2.1 million tonnes with 0.4% copper (Cu) in Mahendragarh, Haryana, during 2008-09. MECL found another reserve with 3.33 million tonnes ore with 0.96%-1.51% Cu in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, during the same period. Some other places where copper resources are being estimated are Chandrapur, Maharashtra; Alwar, Bhilwara, Sikar, Sirohi, Udaipurand Pali, Rajasthan; Phek, Nagaland and Singhbhum, Jharkhand.

There has been only a marginal change in the reserve position overthe last five years. According to the provisional data of IBM, the total reserves are estimated (in metal terms) at 4.8 million tonnes and resources at 12.3 million tonnes as of 1 April 2010. Therefore, the current level of reserves is equivalent to just five years of copper production in India.

The per capita consumption in India stands at around 0.5 kg, which is significantly lower than the world average of 2.7 kg and Chinas 5.4 kg. Copper consumption in any country increases in line with the rise in income; however, the elasticity of demandfor copper is much higher in developing countries than in developed countries. Considering that India may witness a GDP copper demand is expected to grow at a much faster clip, which compounded the resource shortage in the country.

India’s refined copper production has increased from 259 thousand tonnes in 2000 to 721 thousand tonnes in 2009, registering a CAGR of 12%. India’s copper production increased by 7.8% in 2009 after witnessing a decline of 6.9% in 2008 which happened on account ofthe global financial crisis

During 2003-2009, copper consumption in India increased at a CAGR of 10.7%. After peaking out in 2007, copper consumption declined in 2H08 due to the drastic slowdown in production and construction activities. After the global slowdown, copper demand in India picked up again and grew at 9.5% in 2009 2009 to reach 564 thousand tonnes。

Sterlite Industries: Sterlite is a diversified group manufacturing copper, zinc and aluminum. In India, the company has its copper facilities at Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, which comprises a 400,000-tonnes-per-annum copper smelter with a 205,000-tonnes copper refinery.

Hindalco Industries: Hindalco manufactures aluminium and copper products. Till 2010, the company had a copper smelting capacity of 500,000 tonnes per annum at Dahej in the Bharuch district of Gujarat, which is among the largest copper smelters at a single location.(Pulverizer manufacturers in India)

Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL): HCL, a public sector undertaking, is engaged in mining copper ore, beneficiation, smelting, refining and manufacturing downstream products. Having a smelting capacity of 49,500 tonnes per annum, it operates through four units – Khetri Copper Complex (Rajasthan), Malanjkhand Copper Project (Madhya Pradesh), Indian Copper Complex, Ghatsila (Jharkhand) and Taloja Copper Project (Maharashtra). It is the only vertically integrated primary copper producer in India, which has its own captive mines.

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