India's only copper miner plans to nearly triple production at largest mine

Hindustan Copper is making moves to expand its production and operations in India where the company has a monopoly on copper mining.

The state-run company said in a filing on the Bombay Stock Exchange that its board has increased its borrowing limit and approved the formation of a joint venture with National Aluminum Company and Mineral Exploration Corporation for exploring and mining strategic metals abroad, according to Business Standard.

It plans to invest about $700 million in six expansion projects including a near tripling of production at its largest mine, Malanjkhand in Madhya Pradesh. The mine would up its production from 2 million tonnes annually to 5.2 million, by building an underground mine under the current open-cast operation. Located 20 kilometres from a national park, Malanjkhand contains almost 70 percent of India's copper reserves and represents around 60 percent of Hindustan Copper's output, states Business Standard.

Copper prices have risen above 23 percent year to date. Despite a sharp drop in copper imports from China, which consumes nearly half of the metal seen as a bellwether for economic growth, the copper price hit an intra-day high of $3.25 a pound on Wednesday – the highest since February 2014. Copper last closed at $3.07 a pound or $6,777 a tonne.

The same day Bloomberg reported that trading in copper futures is reaching a frenzy, with bets for December 2018 skyrocketing above $10,000 a tonne. Red metal futures haven't been that high since 2011 and Bloomberg says it suggests traders are becoming increasingly bullish due to the need for copper in electric cars.


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