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Hind Copper hopeful of getting govt nod to reopen closed mine

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KOLKATA, July 2 (PTI): Central PSU Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) is hopeful of commencing mining at its closed Rakha mine in Jharkhand, which will entail an investment of over Rs 2,000 crore, after getting final clearance from the state government, a top company official said.

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The Rakha mine has been closed since 2001, and the Jharkhand government has recently given in-principle consent to renew the lease.

However, the final approval is still awaited, and discussions are on in this regard.

“The Rakha-Chapri mine development and other allied investment in mine infrastructure will cross more than Rs 2,000 crore over the next few years and will go a long way in copper production for the country,” HCL chairman and managing director AK Shukla said.

“We will engage a mine developer and operator (MDO) for the project,” Shukla said.

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The MDO tender is expected to be floated in July 2023.

“We expect some flexibility from the government, as we are a PSU,” another official said.

Another mine, Surda, also in Jharkhand, has issues with the execution of the lease deed and is currently under process.

At a time when ore quality is gradually dwindling in the world, Jharkhand’s mines are in focus for the copper major. These mines also have traces of gold and silver. The delay in the process of approval has led to a stagnation of output in the Jharkhand region.

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Malanjkhand in Madhya Pradesh is the current major block through which HCL is aiming at a 10 per cent rise in ore output in the current fiscal.

In 2022-23, it produced 3.35 million tonnes of ore.

The company raised close to Rs 500 crore through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) in 2021 towards partial funding of Phase I expansion to ramp up capacity to 12.2 million tonnes per annum.

The company has also got board approval to raise another Rs 1,000 crore through QIP and non-convertible debentures but it will be raised as and when required.

Hindustan Copper was aiming at a capex of Rs 400-450 crore in the current fiscal, up from Rs 385 crore in 2022-23.

The capex will be principally utilised in mine expansion, mine development and exploration, officials said.

The government has also recently released a list of 30 critical minerals, and copper has been included in the list. Only 0.3 per cent of the global copper reserve is in India.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) has won the ASSOCHAM Business Excellence Award for Smart Waste Management Initiative of the Year.

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