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India is all Set to Become the Net Importer of Copper by 2019.

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by - 4/22/2019 4800 Views

After years of being a net exporter, India will soon turn to become the importer of copper by the end of 2019. The fall in the export is mainly due to the prolonged shutdown of Sterlite 400-KT smelter in Tuticorin.

Recycled Copper

Consumption surged:

The necessity for copper in India increased as the government launched various schemes like providing affordable housing, rural electrification, electrification of rail lines and infrastructure projects. Also, the conversion from gasoline and diesel-powered engines to battery powered engines increased the demand for copper. The 50% of copper demand is met through the supply from domestic copper producer and 30% is met through imports. The remaining comes from recycled copper. In 2018, the consumption of copper was 650,000 tonnes, which is expected to elevate to 1.433 million by 2026.

Top Copper Manufactures in India:

The following three manufacturing companies play an important role in the Indian Copper Sector.

1. Hindustan Copper Limited, a central government public sector company which has the capacity to produce 99,500 tonnes of copper per year.

2. Hindalco, a private sector company produces 5 lakh tonnes of copper annually.

3. Sterlite a private sector company produces 4 lakh tonnes of copper annually.

Shut down of Smelter declined Production:

The copper production in India has dropped by 54.8% during the H1 of FY19. Export of copper has fallen by 93.6% in H1-FY19 whereas the export during H1-FY18 increased by 35.8%. The Import of copper has increased by 167.9% in H1-FY19 whereas the import has fallen by 24.2% in H1-FY18.The main reason behind this situation is the permanent shut down of Tuticorin smelter which is capable of producing 48% of country’s total copper output. The Sterlite Tuticorin unit is the seventh largest smelter in the world which is enough to meet 36 per cent of total domestic demand in the country. The whole year copper production at Tuticorin was 402000 tonnes. The shutdown of Tuticorin Sterlite will push up the nation’s annual import bill as the electrical and defence sectors must rely on other countries for importing their products. Also, the production of copper from HCL and Hindalco was minimal due to the shutdown of the smelter for maintenance purpose. These scenarios made India to import copper.

Interrupt in Supply raised the copper price:

Due to the interrupt in the supply of copper, a large number of small to medium enterprises suffered. The shortage of copper in the domestic market raised the price. Aluminium was used as an alternative in wiring, power cables and electrical equipment. Global copper prices rose to 21.6 per cent during the first quarter of 2019.

Hindustan to establish its Strategy to improve production:

Hindustan Copper Limited decides to reopen the closed mines, expand the existing mines and construct new mines to reach the production up to 20 million tonnes per annum by 2024 said HCL (CMD), Santhosh Sharma. HCL is planning to increase the capacity of the company to 4.1 MTPA by the end of this financial year. Currently, HCL is fulfilling 5 per cent of copper demand. If these expansions are being implemented then HCL could be able to compensate 30 per cent of copper demand.

Time for India to adopt the alternate way:

As India is highly deficient of copper ores it imports the ore from Chile, Indonesia and Peru. The demand for copper is being achieved by India by importing from other countries. The implementation of new smelters and booting the recycling rate will reduce the import of copper. Also, if Tuticorin Sterlite is allowed to resume the operations, the production of refined copper could be around 710KT in FY2019. By adopting the process of recycling the economic growth of a country can be raised and the ores can be conserved for the future.

Category : Copper

Tags : Copper in India, Copper demand, Copper Production, Sterlite

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About Anandhi Anthiran

Hi, I’m Anandhi Anthiran born at Kanyakumari, India. We are five members in our family. I have two younger sisters. About my schooling, I took my elementary education at Chennai. When I was 10 years old, our family got permanently shifted to Kanyakumari as it is our native land. Kanyakumari, the .... more info


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