Jamshedpur, March 10: Public sector major Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) has decided to pump in Rs 100 crore to resume mining at Rakha near Ghatshila, with a little help from a company Down Under.
Revival of the mines, closed due to economic compulsions in 2001, hinges on HCL’s collaboration with India Resources Limited (IRL), the Indian wing of an Australian mining company.
Located about 8km from Ghatshila, Rakha mines has a capacity to produce over 1,000 tonne copper per day. “Initially, HCL will set a target of mining 1,000 tonne of copper. Later, the capacity will be enhanced,” said an HCL official.
Rakha, along with Kendadih and Sidheshwar-Chapri mines were closed down about 10 years ago after copper rates nosedived in the international market. Now, with prices picking up, HCL believes it is a good time to resume mining in the region.
“The public hearing for re-opening the mines has already been completed. The revival of the mines will help boost copper production in this region,” said Kamlesh Soni, assistant general manager of HCL.
General secretary of Jharkhand Copper Mazdoor Union D.P. Mukherjee said the de-watering, or the process of draining water accumulated in the mines during the shutdown, was expected to begin next month.
“The management has informed us about reviving the mines and manpower requirement. The total budget earmarked this fiscal for mining was about Rs 350 crore of which over Rs 100 crore would be spent for reviving the Rakha mines,” he said.
As of now, IRL is engaged in mining activities at Surda which was re-opened in 2011. For HCL’s daily requirement, its Malanjkhand unit in Madhya Pradesh is supplying around 300 tonne copper concentrate, while Surda mines provide around 50 tonne.
HCL had a cluster of seven copper mines _ Rakha, Surda, Musaboni, Badia, Banalopa, Pathergora and Kendadih. The company shut all of them in phases due to high production costs. The mines are now on revival mode.
Fresh efforts are also being made to re-open the Kendadih mines, 10km from Ghatshila.