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HCL to extract precious metals from ore waste

Special Correspondent
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K. D. Diwan
K. D. Diwan

Hindustan Copper Ltd. has invited expressions of interest from global firms for recovering precious metals from copper ore waste. “It will be a game changer, and will greatly improve our profitability,” company Chairman-cum-Managing Director K. D. Diwan said here after the company’s annual general meeting.

He said nearly 100 million tones of ore waste were available at the ‘tailings’, and it was possible to recover gold, silver and other precious metals from them. “We have found technology for this, and received responses to our EOI from overseas and domestic companies.”

Technologies that are available for this extraction are Australian, Indian and Chinese. The payback for this project is one and a half years.

He said work on four of the eight mining projects had started, and the balance was awaiting statutory clearances. Together, they entail a Rs.3,435-crore investment and envisage increasing capacity to 12.4 million tonnes in five years from 3.4 million tonnes now.

Planned capex

HCL spent Rs.260.30 crore in 2012-13 on this. A capex of Rs.688.40 crore had been planned on mine expansion, replacement and renewal, mine development and green field exploration in 2013-14.

The underground mine project beneath the opencast mine at Malanjkhand in Madhya Pradesh was waiting nod from the National Board for Wild Life, as it was close to the Kanha Tiger Reserve. It had already received nod from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Mr. Diwan said.

HCL, in which the government now holds 90 per cent equity, has projects in Madhya Pradsh and Jharkhand. It has got permits for commencing various levels of exploration activities for its greenfield projects in Rajasthan .

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