Kolkata: State-owned miner Hindustan Copper Ltd was looking to ramp up its smelting capacity to 100,000 tonne per annum from the existing 70,000 tonnes, besides targeting a turnover of 2,000 crore by the end of this fiscal year.

The company, which had secured a licence to function as an independent exploration agency, is also looking to tap the capital markets to raise funds in 2018-19.

Following the shortage in copper production due to the closure of the Tamil Nadu unit of Sterlite Industries Ltd, Hindustan Copper Ltd is looking to restart its redundant smelter at Khetri in Rajasthan.

Santosh Sharma, chairman-cum-managing director, said the non-operational smelter at Khetri will be ready by 15 June and will result in 20% capacity addition at 31,000 tonnes. “When a smelter comes after renovation, it reaches 120% of capacity utilization," he said, adding that the company’s “priority" is to explore full potential in refined copper production.

HCL is also considering raising capital from the market in the current fiscal through fresh equity of shares, said a senior official on the condition of anonymity. According to the official, the company may consider the qualified institutional placement (QIP) route to raise capital to the tune of Rs800-1,000 crore to fund its expansion plans. This would also bring down the government holding in the company from 76.05% to around 69%, according to the official.

Sharma refused to comment on the fund raising plan.

The company has also earmarked around Rs700 crore in the current fiscal to support its expansion and diversification plans. In 2017-18, it had a capex of Rs589 crore, Sharma said.

HCL also has an exploration plan, jointly with the Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd, to drill around 248,000 mt to explore deposits in its own mines at an estimated capital expenditure of Rs408 crore, Sharma said.

HCL is also expecting its bottomline to grow by Rs50 crore from its secondary resources or “Waste-to-Wealth" project.

According to Sharma, there is “no input cost" in these projects and would “directly add to its bottomline".

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