Billionaire Gautam Adani-led group’s copper-producing factory at Mundra in Gujarat is set to commence operations from March next year, aiding India’s energy transition and reducing its dependence on copper imports, according to reliable sources.
The “Metal of Electrification”
Copper is widely recognized as the “metal of electrification” as it is crucial for various technologies driving the energy transition, such as electric vehicles (EVs), charging infrastructure, solar photovoltaics (PV), wind power, and batteries.
Kutch Copper Ltd (KCL) Project
Kutch Copper Ltd (KCL), a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), is establishing a greenfield copper refinery project with an annual production capacity of 1 million tonnes, divided into two phases.
- Phase-1: Capacity of 0.5 million tonnes per annum.
- Phase-2: Capacity of 0.5 million tonnes per annum.
The financial closure for Phase-1, with a capacity of 0.5 million tonnes per annum, has been achieved through a syndicated club loan.
The first phase is expected to become operational by the end of the current fiscal year.
Project Financing and Approvals
The Rs 8,783 crore-greenfield project secured complete debt funding through a consortium of banks led by SBI. The consortium provided the entire debt requirement of Rs 6,071 crore for Phase-1.
Adani Enterprises Ltd has invested the equity for the project, and all major approvals are in place to ensure timely execution.
India’s Copper Demand and Imports
With the fast-growing renewable energy, telecom, and electric vehicle industries, the demand for copper is on the rise in India.
However, domestic copper production has been insufficient to meet this demand, leading to an increased reliance on imported copper. In FY23, India imported a record 1,81,000 tonnes of copper while exports dropped to a record low of 30,000 tonnes.
India’s copper consumption is estimated to reach 1.7 million tonnes by 2027, with the green energy industry driving the surge.
Adani Group’s Role and Mundra’s Strategic Importance
The Adani Group, expanding its renewable portfolio, will be a significant consumer of copper. The strategically located plant at Mundra on the west coast will play a crucial role in developing green energy infrastructure and promoting ‘Make in India’ initiatives.
Mundra Special Economic Zone has the potential to become a hub for downstream ecosystems of value-added copper products in the future.
The location’s advantages include access to cost-effective and uninterrupted energy supply and efficient logistical infrastructure for catering to domestic and international demand.
Sustainability and Byproducts
Kutch Copper’s project design prioritizes sustainability with zero liquid discharge and explores the use of green power. Additionally, byproducts from the plant include:
- 25 tonnes per annum of gold
- 250 tonnes per annum of silver
- 1,500 kilotonnes per annum (KTPA) of sulphuric acid
- 250 KTPA of phosphoric acid
These byproducts will contribute to reducing India’s imports of sulphuric acid, which is a vital raw material for manufacturing phosphatic fertilizers, detergents, and specialty chemicals.
Global Copper Demand
During the energy transition, demand growth for copper is projected to be significant in the US, China, Europe, and India. By 2035, the US is expected to import up to two-thirds of its copper requirements.
Adani’s copper project at Mundra presents a significant step in India’s energy transition and self-sufficiency in copper production. With its sustainable approach and strategic location, the project will play a vital role in supporting India’s green energy infrastructure development and ‘Make in India’ efforts.