HCL hopes to cross Rs 2,000 cr turnover in FY19

HCL hopes to cross Rs 2,000 cr turnover in FY19
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State-run copper producer Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL), which is focusing on exploration in order to assess copper reserve in its mines, on Tuesday said it is expecting its turnover to cross Rs 2,000 crore in the current fiscal, an official said on Tuesday.

Kolkata: State-run copper producer Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL), which is focusing on exploration in order to assess copper reserve in its mines, on Tuesday said it is expecting its turnover to cross Rs 2,000 crore in the current fiscal, an official said on Tuesday.

"We have started an ambitious project on exploration. As of today, we are not exploring beyond an average 500 metre depth. We are not fully aware of our potential in terms of copper reserves available in our mines... We are going to take exploration in a big way. We have mobilised fund for that," company's Chairman and Managing Director Santosh Sharma told reporters here.

The company has already awarded a Rs 6 crore contract to Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd in Singhbhum belt and the next assignment worth Rs 10 crore, has been proposed.

"We have chalked out exploration plan with MECL to drill about 2 lakh 48 thousand metres to assess our reserve potential. For this, Rs 408 crore of capex would be required. It will take 24 months," Sharma said.

The company also plans to explore at Khetri belt along with commencement of exploration in Malanjkhand and adjoining areas, he said.

The copper miner's request to act as an independent exploration agency has also been accepted by the Mines Ministry.

Meanwhile, HCL has set a target to produce 40,000 tonne of Metal-in-Concentrate this year while its production in 2017-18 was 31,793 tonne, up by 4 per cent from previous year.

"We are expecting that overall turnover to cross Rs 2,000 crore this year," said Sharma.

Its turnover in 2017-18 was at Rs 1,719 crore, up by 35 per cent over previous year.

Moreover, the joint venture company, Chhattisgarh Copper Company, with HCL holding 74 per cent stake and Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation having 26 per cent share, would also focus on exploration in the state, Sharma said.

The company is expected to spend Rs 700 crore as capital expenditure in 2018-19. Capex expenditure in FY 2017-18 was increased significantly to Rs 589 crore from Rs 401 crore in the previous year, registering a growth of 47 per cent.

It is expecting a significant growth in mine production.

The copper sales volume in FY'18 increased by 26 per cent to 36,435 tonnes compared to 28,888 tonnes in the last fiscal year, Sharma said.

Copper cathode production during FY'18 was 39 per cent higher than the last year.

Sharma also said that in view of current crisis in Vedanta's Sterlite copper plant, HCL is ramping up its smelting capacity to produce refined copper.

"Our smelting capacity is currently 70,000 tonnes per annum and of which smelting capacity through secondary route is 50,000 tonne per annum and the rest us with primary route. We have exploited the capacity of secondary route up to 30 per cent. Our priority will be to ramp up capacity utilisation of smelters," he said.

During the FY 2017-18, the company has initiated a project on "Waste to Wealth", with a technology developed to extract minerals and metals from copper ore tails, a waste generated during copper ore beneficiation.

"A plant with annual capacity of 3.3 million tonne is constructed at Malanjkhand, Madhya Pradesh which is expected to be commissioned in July, 2018. The project shall be a significant value creator for the company," Sharma said, adding that HCL is planning to set up a similar plant at Khetri belt.

In addition, the copper producer is looking at monetising ore burden which is essentially waste rock, either granite or quartzite.

"Currently, 100 million tonnes of such waste rock is available at Malanjkhand. We have initiated a project to sell waste rock to Indian Railways. Based on internal assessment, the present stock is having value more than Rs 1,000 crore," he said.

"Our copper is business fully LME (London Metal Exchange) dependent. CoT and waste rock verticals would independent of LME. Taking together, these two non-LME verticals could add Rs 50 crore to company's bottomline in the current fiscal," Sharma added.

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