India Turns Refined Copper Importer After 18 Years: CARE Ratings 
A worker holds copper wire salvaged from cables for a photograph at the Attero Recycling Pvt facility in the Raipur industrial area of Bhagwanpur in Roorkee, Uttarkhand, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Turns Refined Copper Importer After 18 Years: CARE Ratings 


The closure of Vedanta Ltd.’s copper smelter plant at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu has led to a rise in imports of the metal, making the country a net importer of refined copper after 18 years, CARE Ratings has said.

"India used to be a net exporter of copper cathodes till FY18. Now with the closure of the Tuticorin smelter, the drop in domestic production has led to the domino effect of increasing the country's imports and decreasing its exports. India has become a net importer of refined copper after 18 years," CARE Ratings has said.

During FY19, exports fell by 87.4 percent, whereas imports increased by 131.2 percent, it said. India imported refined copper from, Japan, Congo, Singapore, Chile, Tanzania, the UAE, and South Africa while exported refined copper to China, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Bangladesh during 2018-19.

Share of exports towards China has increased, from it being 63 percent during 2017-18 to 75 percent during 2018-19 and the share of imports from Japan has increased from it being 68 percent during FY18 to 71 percent during FY19.

India has emerged as an importer of copper ore and concentrates and imports more than 90 percent of our concentrate requirements due to the lack of copper mines present in the country. Imports of copper ore and concentrates fell by 44.6 percent in the last fiscal due to lack of requirement from the Tuticorin smelter.

The Tamil Nadu government in May last year ordered permanent shutdown of the copper smelter after bloody protests at the plant in Thoothukudi culminated in police opening fire on demonstrators.

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