The state-run copper behemoth Hindustan Copper is betting big on its COT (copper ore trail) recovery plant. HCL expects that COT beneficiation plant produces would add nearly Rs 219 crore annually to the revenue of the company. The designed annual capacity of the plant—the first of its kind COT plant in Asia—will be 3.29 million tonne of COT which includes 544.8 tonne of copper, 313 kg of gold, 3130 kg of silver, 17,6 0,000 tonne of silica sand and 19,800 tonne of magnetite concentrate, said Santosh Sharma, chairman and managing director, Hindustan Copper (HCL).
“Silica sand recovered at Malanjkhand Copper Project (MCP) is upgradable to glass grade and also suitable for construction purposes. Keeping in mind the restriction on river sand querying due to environment consideration, this will be in a continuous demand.
The magnetite recovered from the process is upgradable to the heavy media grade used in coal washeries and will also have continuous demand. Precious metals- gold and silver will be produced with more than 80 per cent purity and there will be no dearth of demand for these products,” said Sharma.
Interestingly, more than 70 million tonne of COT is impounded in MCP while the current rate of generation of COT is nearly 2.4 million tonne per annum. COT contains fine particles of ore (particle size 55 per cent passing 75 micron).
Similarly, HCL is bullish about availing the benefits of using MCP waste rock as construction material. Sharma said, “By selling 250 million tonne waste rock to the construction industry and railways, HCL will generate substantial revenue for the company and the reduce the environmental hazards.”
Significantly, the 250 million tonne+ waste stock at the MCP is of four categories: basic, granite, aplite and quartz and all the four categories of rocks have been tested for its construction properties. The waste rock dump comprises 80 per cent granite, 10 per cent basic, 5 per cent aplite and 5 per cent quartz (barren), which, in turn, means that as much as 95 per cent of the waste rock is usable for construction purposes, said the HCL MD. “Indian Railways has already tested the waste rock for its applicability as railway ballast and found the material to be suitable,” added Sharma.
This will also help the company emerge as a zero waste mining company by converting waste into secondary resources.
These moves coincide with the company’s plan to increase its ore production from 4.1 million tonne this fiscal (FY19) to about 20 million tonne by FY24 with a total capital outlay of Rs 5,500 crore. It has actually lined up plans to for a five-fold production expansion by switching production from its main open-cast mine in Malanjkhand, Madhya Pradesh, to an underground mine, ramp-up in production at its other mines, and few possible acquisitions. The open cast mine at MCP will run out in a couple of years after nearly 40 years of operation.
The company has identified reserves of about 160 million tonne in the underground mine, for which construction is nearly complete and production could begin by September this year, the CMD said.