Hindustan Copper to outsource processing

Hindustan Copper to outsource processing

Mumbai: Government state-run Hindustan Copper Ltd plans to outsource processing of 55,000 tonnes of copper concentrates into copper cathodes, to help it retain its position in the refined metal market even as its largest smelter remains shut, its chairman said on Wednesday.

“In a week’s time we are going to float tenders to convert our concentrates into cathodes. These cathodes will then be made into rods at our Taloja plant," Shakeel Ahmed, chairman and managing director of the company, told Reuters from Kolkata.

Taloja is in the western state of Maharashtra.

The tender would be open to domestic or foreign bidders, Ahmed added.

The decision to outsource the processing of copper concentrates — the raw material mined by Hindustan Copper — is designed to help the company retain its foothold in the refined copper market, Ahmed said.

“If we don’t stay in the finished products market, private players will form a cartel to push prices," Ahmed said.

Hindustan Copper is the third-largest refined copper maker in India after Hindalco Industries and Sterlite Industries.

Its 31,000 tonnes of copper smelter in Khetri in western Rajasthan state was shut in December 2008 as volatile copper prices turned it economically unviable.

Ahmed said it was studying to see if its initial estimate of Rs400 million ($8.6) to start the Khetri smelter could be lowered.

Its second smelter in Jharkhand, has a capacity of 19,000 tonnes of refined copper which is operating normally.