Expansion plans of state-owned Hindustan Copper's have been delayed further as the company is yet to secure the National Board for Wildlife's approval for expanding its flagship Malanjkhand mine in Madhya Pradesh.
Expansion of the Malanjkhand mine, which is the single largest copper deposit of India with nearly 70 per cent of the country's reserves, has already been delayed by about two years due to want of various regulatory approvals.
Last year in June, the project was accorded environment clearance (EC) with the condition of securing a final nod from National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) as the mine is located only 20 km from the Kanha National Park.
After securing the EC last year, sources said that Hindustan Copper had submitted all the relevant papers to the NBWL for its approval.
However, a meeting of the Standing Committee of the NBWL, its apex decision making body, has not taken place for long, due to which the company is yet to secure the final approval, the sources further said.
The delay in securing the NBWL approval is hurting the expansion of the mine, for which contracts over Rs 1,175 crore has already been awarded and even the revised deadline of completing the expansion by 2017 may get missed if the nod is not accorded in next few months, they added.
To get things going, the sources further said that the company has also approached Prime Minister's Project Monitoring Group, that was set up last year to fast track stalled infrastructure projects.
Expansion of the mine has already been approved by the state wildlife board.
Hindustan Copper has already announced its plans to have a production capacity of 12.41 MTPA from existing 3.66 MTPA by 2017-18 and has plans to invest about Rs 3,434 crore.
Of this, major capacity addition has to come from Malanjkhand (5.2 MTPA), the largest domestic copper mine with an extractable reserves of 141 million tonnes. The mine currently has a production capacity of 2.25 million tonnes and contributes about 80 per cent of Hindustan Copper's total production.
The company has plans to invest Rs 1,857 crore on expanding its capacity to to 5.2 million tonnes per annum and entire investment will be met through internal resources. This project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in September, 2011.
Other than Malanjkhand, the company is also working on increasing the capacities of its existing mines like Khetri, Kolihan and Surda. It also has plans to reopen closed Kendadih and Rakha mines and may undertake mining at new mines, Banwas and Chapri-Sidheswar.