State-owned Hindustan Copper has said that the progress in the construction of the underground mine at Malanjkhand copper project in Madhya Pradesh is slow due to the precarious financial position of the development agency.
The proposed expansion of the Malanjkhand copper project will augment the ore production capacity from present 2 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by developing an underground mine below the existing open pit whose life is at its fag end, Hindustan Copper said.
"After obtaining the required Environment Clearance (EC) and clearance from National Board for Wild Life (NBWL), contract for development of underground mine was awarded in April 2015.
"Due to precarious financial position, the contractual Agency has been referred under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and their liquidation is under process. This resulted into slow progress on construction of underground mine at MCP," the PSU said in a recent report.
Meanwhile, a contract for ore production from developing underground mine through decline has been awarded in July last year and it is expected that production will commence in 2020-2021, the report said.
Hindustan Copper in 2010-11 had envisaged increasing mine production capacity from 3.4 million tonne per annum to 12.2 MTPA.
This was subsequently revised to 20.2 MTPA in order to boost domestic production of copper metal to reduce dependence on imports.
The expansion plan, it said, will be implemented in a phased manner i.e. in the first phase capacity up to 12.2 MTPA would be targeted and in the second phase it will be scaled up to 20.2 MTPA.