By Ajoy K. Das
Three years after the closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper, India is turning from a net exporter to net importer of copper. Meanwhile, Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd. is back with a bid to construct a greenfield coastal copper smelter entailing an investment of $1.37 billion.
Tapping into opportunities presented by the closure of Sterlite Copper and a domestic shortage of copper, Adani Group has also thrown its hat into the investment ring proposing to construct a 1-million-metric-ton-per-year (mt/y) copper refinery in the western state of Gujarat.
Vedanta Ltd., a subsidiary of the U.K. headquartered Vedanta Resources, has floated a notice seeking expression of interest (EoI) from various Indian state governments in coastal regions for partnership to construct the copper smelter and seeking land of around 1,000 acres and access to a port with capacity to handle around 5 million mt of raw material freight.
The Adani Group, has floated a subsidiary christened Kutch Copper Ltd. proposing to construct a “copper complex” in Gujarat with 900,000 mt of primary copper smelting capacity, 100,000 mt/y in copper scrap melting capacity and a project report has been submitted for federal government’s Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for necessary mandatory approvals, a company official said.
Editor’s note: In 2018, Vedanta-
owned Sterlite Copper’s smelter, located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, was forced to close down by local government authorities for alleged breach of pollution control laws and protests, which led to the killing of 12 people and the loss 400,000 mt/y of copper.