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India spent Rs 27,131 Cr in FY23 on import of copper

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NEW DELHI : India spent Rs 27,131 crore on copper imports in 2022-23, up from Rs 21,985 crore a year earlier, Parliament was informed on Monday.

On account of low availability of copper reserves in the country, India has always been an importer of copper ore and concentrate.

Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Coal and Mines Minister Shri Pralhad Joshi said, “Per annum net import value (and hence, net foreign exchange outgo) during the last two years… 2021-22 (is) Rs 21,985 crore, 2022-23 (is) Rs 27,131 crore.” “India, with a refined copper production of 5.55 lakh tonne in FY2022-23, is the 10th largest in the world,” the minister explained.

The spurt in imports in the last two years is due to increased demand in copper refining, reflecting a post-pandemic recovery, especially the growth in user sectors such as infrastructure, construction, telecom, electrical, renewable energy, and electric vehicles. Copper is one of the 30 critical minerals identified by the Centre.

Copper concentrate is used as a raw material in the production of refined copper, in which the country has a robust capacity.

“A new mineral concession, namely, exploration licence, for 29 deep-seated and critical minerals, including copper, has been introduced through the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Act, 2023.” “Under this, the licensee is permitted to undertake reconnaissance and prospecting operations for critical and deep-seated minerals, which are otherwise difficult to explore and mine,” he said.

Exploration licence is aimed at encouraging the participation of private agencies so as to bring advanced technology, finance and expertise in exploration of critical minerals.

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