Ranchi, June 19: Senior officials of Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) today approached the state government to demand speedy execution of lease of Rakha mines in East Singhbhum in an attempt to cash in on the rising prices of copper ore in the global market.
HCL chairman-cum-managing director K.D. Diwan and director (mining) Avijit Ghosh met acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty at Project Building, requesting the government to expedite the process of lease execution to help revive Rakha mines, which have been lying unused for over a decade now.
State revenue and land reforms secretary J.B. Tubid, his mines and geology counterpart Arun, Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) officials and East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal also attended the meeting.
“The deputy commissioner of East Singhbhum needs to send recommendations for the lease execution. The government will have no problem in giving its nod for the same,” Tubid told The Telegraph after the meeting.
Rakha mines have been closed since 2001 when mining became unprofitable. But with copper prices shooting up across the world and IRL hoping to scale up production to 1.5MT over the next five years, Rakha is set to emerge as one of the largest copper mines in the country.
HCL director (mining) Ghosh reflected the optimism. “The meeting with senior government officials was positive. We expect solutions for all pending issues,” he said.
Sources said there were some issues regarding land overlapping between HCL and UCIL in the region. Also, some portion at Rakha was transferred to the home department a couple of year ago. “A decision will be taken soon keeping in mind the interests of all stakeholders,” said a senior government official.
Currently, HCL has only one operational mine at Surda in East Singhbhum. This apart, it has a processing plant at Ghatshila-Musabani area to produce 19,000 tonnes of refined copper per annum.
HCL’s additional reserves include Rakha, Kendadih and Chapri mines. It is estimated that Rakha has a deposit of 47.19MT, while Kendadih and Chapri have 12.85MT and 63.50MT reserves, respectively.
Reports suggest that HCL invited global tenders in 2010 for revival and expansion of Rakha mines with an objective to produce 1.5MT copper per annum. Its board of directors issued a “letter of intent” to sign a contract with the IRL/KOPEX consortium earlier this year.
India Resources Limited (IRL), an India-focused Australian mining company, is planning to re-start production from Rakha mines in the next few months.