Adani’s Kutch Copper, world’s largest single-location manufacturing plant in Gujarat, to start operations from March end

The $1.2-billion facility will help cut India’s dependence on imports of the third most used industrial metal after steel and aluminium whose demand is rising on the back of fast-growing renewable energy, telecom and electric vehicle industries. 

It is important to note that technologies critical to the energy transition like electric vehicles (EVs), charging infrastructure, solar photovoltaics (PV), wind and batteries, all require copper.

Kutch Copper, a greenfield copper refinery with a capacity to produce refined copper with 1 million tonnes per annum, is scheduled to be completed in two phases. For Phase 1, capacity of 0.5 million tonnes per annum, the Adani Enterprises subsidiary achieved financial closure through a syndicated club loan in June 2022.

“Adani wants to become a global leader in the copper business, leveraging the Adani Group’s strong position in resource trading, logistics, renewable power, and infrastructure,” PTI reported quoting one of the sources as saying. 

“They aim to be the world’s largest copper smelting complex by 2030,” the report added.

The report said India’s per capita copper consumption is estimated at around 0.6 kg compared to the global average of 3.2 kg.

“India’s drive towards clean energy systems, increasing penetration of electric vehicles and a host of associated applications are expected to double the domestic copper demand by 2030.”

“The Adani Group is investing heavily in energy transition, in which copper will play a vital role. It is expanding into adjacent areas of its current capabilities, which makes the copper business a strategic fit,” the report said.

It is important to note that India’s imports have been consistently on the rise for the past five years however, domestic production has been unable to meet the demand. For FY23 (April 2022 to March 2023 fiscal), the country imported a record 1,81,000 tonnes of copper, while exports plummeted to a record low of 30,000 tonnes, even lower than the Covid pandemic period, according to the data from the government.

The country is estimated to have consumed 7,50,000 tonnes of copper in FY23 (612 KT in FY22). The number is expected to rise to 1.7 million tonnes by 2027 on the back of huge demand from the green energy industry. Global demand for copper from solar photovoltaic (PV) installations alone is estimated to double to 2.25 million tonnes in the current decade.

The report said the Kutch Copper is likely to produce copper cathodes and rods as well as valuable byproducts such as gold, silver, selenium and platinum.

Additionally, the integrated complex will produce sulphuric acid, which is a key raw material for manufacturing phosphatic fertilizers, detergents, pharmaceuticals, speciality chemicals, paper and sugar bleaching, and water treatment. India imports roughly two million tonnes of sulphuric acid.

The plant will produce 500,000 tonnes of refined copper per annum in Phase I with byproducts — nearly 25 tonnes of gold, 250 tonnes of silver, 1.5 million tonnes of sulphuric acid, and 250,000 tonnes of phosphoric acid. The Phase II expansion will increase the refined copper capacity up to 1 million tonnes per annum, the report said.

“Kutch Copper will be one of the most efficient copper smelters in India, with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Adani is striving to increase the share of renewables in the overall energy mix in our quest to be a proponent of ‘green copper’,” the report said quoting the source.

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Published: 04 Feb 2024, 04:12 PM IST

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