Adani group building 1 million tpa copper plant at Mundra, Gujarat
06 Feb 2024
Adani Group subsidiary Kutch Copper Ltd is investing $1.2 billion to build a copper smelting and refining facility in Mundra, Gujarat. The copper plant, with an initial capacity of 5,00,000 tonnes of refined copper per annum, is set to start production by March this year.
Kutch Copper plans to scale up to full capacity of 1 million tonnes by the end of the 2029 financial year, and when completed, it will be the world’s largest single-location copper smelter.
The plant will cater to India’s unmet demand for copper, which is a crucial input in most industries, including new technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs), charging infrastructure, solar photovoltaics (PV), wind, and batteries that are needed for energy transition,.
The new smelter will reduce India’s import dependence, which has gone up after the closure of Sterlite’s 4,00,000-tonnes-per-annum copper smelter in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu. Sterlite, incidentally is attempting to reopen the Tuticorin plant.
Currently, Hindalco Industries Ltd operates India’s largest copper smelter with a capacity of 5,00,000 tonnes.
Adani’s move aligns with the government’s `Atmanirbarta’ initiative and support the country’s shift towards sustainable energy sources.
Copper is the third most important industrial metal after steel and aluminium, and has wide applications across various sectors.
Globally, copper production is centred in South American countries, with Chile and Peru contributing 38 per cent of the world’s total production.
The government has identified copper as one of the 30 critical minerals for which the government has introduced a new concessional exploration licensing policy. Under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Act, 2023 a licensee is permitted to undertake reconnaissance and prospecting operations for critical and deep-seated minerals – a move aimed at encouraging private participation. This will help bring advanced technology, finance and expertise in exploration of critical minerals.
Further, accredited private exploration agencies notified under the MMDR Act have been allowed to carry out exploration without prospecting licence and are made eligible for funding under the National Mineral Exploration Trust.