MAC: Mines and Communities

Birla Copper Expands; Acquires Mines In Australia

Published by MAC on 2004-03-11
Source: Reuters

Birla Copper expands; acquires mines in Australia


11th March 2004

New Delhi: Birla Copper will raise output gradually over the next year after expanding capacity to 250,000 tonnes a year from 150,000 tonnes, a top company official said on Thursday. The company have also acquired two mines in Australia, he added.

"We have just completed the expansion in February and now the ramp-up has to start. In about a year's time, we should ramp up (to full capacity)," P. Balakrishnan, executive president of Birla Copper, told reporters on the sidelines of a copper seminar in New Delhi.

Birla Copper is a unit of Hindalco Industries Ltd, India's largest aluminium producer.

"Hindalco's copper unit this year should export around 80,000 tonnes of copper. Last year, we did around 75,000 tonnes," he said.

He said India's copper exports in 2003/04 should total between 120,000 and 150,000 tonnes against the previous fiscal year's 120,000.

"I would expect copper production in the country in 2003/04 to be around 400,000 tonnes compared with 370,000 tonnes in the previous year," Balakrishnan said.

India produced 328,123 tonnes of copper between April 2003 and January 2004, up from 315,275 tonnes in the year-earlier period.

Sterlite Industries Ltd and state-run Hindustan Copper are the other leading copper producers.

Balakrishnan said one of the two mines that Birla Copper had acquired in Australia was expected to start production later this year. The other would start in 2005, he said.

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