Hind Copper plans to float subsidiary

Special Correspondent

To invest about Rs. 2,000 crore in consolidating mining business

KOLKATA: Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL), the only vertically integrated copper mining company, is now planning to get into exploration. For this, it proposes to float a subsidiary company, its Chairman and Managing Director S. C. Gupta said.

He said HCL was planning to invest nearly Rs. 2,000 crore over five years in consolidating its mining business which had suffered for nearly eight years of a loss-making phase. The company has now turned around and has begun to reopen closed mines, apply for renewal of its mining leases and also apply for fresh ones in some of the States.

“We will outsource some of the work and enter into joint ventures for which we have invited expressions of interest”, he told reporters here on Saturday after signing an integrity pact for bringing transparency into its bidding and procurement business.

He said mines in Jharkhand which have been closed between 1998 and 2003 were now being reopened and applications have been made for renewing lapsed mining leases.

HCL has four mines in this State with a capacity of 12 million tonnes. Production has started in one of these through a joint venture with an Australian company Monark Mining.

An investment of Rs. 40 crore has been made since December 2007. Five parties have carried out their due diligence on the mines in Banwas in Rajasthan.

Once developed, these new initiatives are expected to yield about 15,000 tonnes of metal-in-concentrate by 2012 which is likely to help stop imports for which HCL spends Rs. 450 crore annually. HCL is awaiting prospecting licences in Rajasthan and Haryana where it plans to make a fresh foray in copper mining.

The company made a net profit of Rs. 303 crore in 2007-08 on a turnover of Rs. 1,800 crore.

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