Kolkata: State-run copper producer Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL), which is focusing on exploration in order to assess copper reserve in its mines, on Tuesday said it is expecting its turnover to cross Rs 2,000 crore in the current fiscal, an official said on Tuesday. “We have started an ambitious project on exploration. As of today, we are not exploring beyond an average 500 metre depth. We are not fully aware of our potential in terms of copper reserves available in our mines… We are going to take exploration in a big way. We have mobilised fund for that,” company’s Chairman and Managing Director Santosh Sharma told reporters here.
The company has already awarded contract to Minerals Exploration Corporation Ltd in Singhbhum belt. “The first exploration assignment worth Rs 6 crore was already given to Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) and the next assignment worth Rs 10 crore, has been proposed. “We have chalked out exploration plan with MECL to drill about 2 lakh 48 thousand metres to assess our reserve potential. For this Rs 408 crore of capex would be required. It will take 24 months,” Sharma said.
The company also plans to explore at Khetri belt along with start exploration in Malanjkhand and adjoining areas, he said.The copper miner has also been accepted by the Ministry of Mines to act as an independent exploration agency. “Our request to work like exploration agency under Section 4-A of MMDR Act has been accepted by the Ministry of Mines. We can also commence exploration ourselves. Till date, we are not exploration agency. HCL will now function as independent exploration agency,” Sharma said.
The company has set a target to produce 40,000 tonne of Metal-in-Concentrate this year. “We are expecting that overall turnover to cross Rs 2,000 crore this year,” he said.The company is expected to spend Rs 700 crore as capital expenditure in 2018-19. Capex expenditure in FY 2017-18 was increased significantly to Rs 589 crore from Rs 401 crore in the previous year, registering a growth of 47 per cent. It is expecting a significant growth in mine production. The copper sales volume in FY’18 increased by 26 per cent to 36,435 tonnes compared to 28,888 tonnes in the last fiscal year, Sharma said.
Copper cathode production during FY’18 was 39 per cent higher than the last year. Metal-in-Concentrate production was 4 per cent higher than the last year. The company signed an MoU with the Ministry of Mines outlining business plan for the current fiscal and also for 11 per cent higher capacity utilisation. During the FY 2017-18, the company has initiated a project on “Waste to Wealth”.
The miner said a compatible technology has been developed to extract minerals and metals from copper ore tails (CoT), a waste generated during copper ore beneficiation. “A plant with annual capacity of 3.3 million tonne is constructed at Malanjkhand, Madhya Pradesh which is expected to be commissioned in July, 2018. The project shall be a significant value creator for the company,” it said.