To complete the mine expansion by 2017 despite delays; will be spending about Rs. 1,857 crore for the purpose.

State-owned Hindustan Copper has said it is hopeful of securing National Wildlife Board’s permission by December for expanding its flagship Malanjkhand mine in Madhya Pradesh, which is the single largest copper deposit of India with nearly 70 per cent of the country’s reserves.

Expansion of the Malanjkhand mine to 5.2 million tonnes per annum capacity (MTPA) has already been held up by over one and half years due to delays in securing various regulatory approvals.

Hindustan Copper (HCL) had secured environment clearance last month for expanding the capacity of the mine subject to a final clearance from National Wildlife Board as the mine is located only 20 km from the Kanha National Park.

“State Wildlife Board has given its recommendation, now it has been sent to National Wildlife Board, where we have submitted the required documents. We hope to get the forest clearance by December if everything goes as per plan. There is no delay on our side,” company’s Chairman and Managing Director Kailash Dhar Diwan said.

He was speaking to reporters after presenting a dividend cheque of Rs. 83.27 crore to Mines Minister Dinsha Patel. In 2012-13, the company had reported its best ever profit after tax of Rs. 355.64 crore.

The Malanjkhand mine currently has a production capacity of 2.25 million tonnes and contributes about 80 per cent of Hindustan Copper’s total production. It has extractable copper reserves of 141 million tonnes, amounting to 70 per cent of India’s known copper reserves.

The company has set a target of completing the expansion of mine by 2017 despite the delays and will be spending about Rs. 1,857 crore for the purpose. Of that, the company has already awarded contracts worth Rs. 1,176 crore, Mr. Diwan said.

Speaking on the occasion, Mines Minister Mr. Patel said his ministry will lend all support in securing clearance from National Wildlife Board, so that expansion of the Malanjkhand mine can get completed on time.

“Their (HCL’s) performance has improved last year compared to previous two years. There is nothing called 100 per cent satisfaction but they are doing good work and I hope that their performance will improve further... Our department will try its level best to secure clearances for the (Malanjkhand) mine,” he said.

Hindustan Copper is working on three-pronged strategy to expand its production capacity to 12.41 MTPA from existing 3.66 MTPA and has plans to invest about Rs. 3,434 crore by 2017-18.

Accordingly, the company is working to increase the capacities of its existing mines like Malanjkhand, Khetri, Kolihan and Surda. Besides, it also plans to reopen closed Kendadih and Rakha mines and undertake mining at new mines, Banwas and Chapri-Sidheswar. During the current fiscal, it is expecting to invest about Rs. 690 crore.

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