Codelco, Hindustan Copper May Form Venture to Mine in Chile

Codelco, the world’s biggest copper producer, and India’s Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCP) may form a venture to jointly mine reserves in Chile as demand rises for the metal used as the most common conductor of electricity.

The companies began talks during an Indian delegation’s visit to Chile, India’s Mines Minister Dinsha Patel, who led the group, said today in an interview in New Delhi. State-run Hindustan Copper, India’s monopoly producer, wants to buy Codelco’s underground mining technologies to bolster output at its mines.

“We see a wide scope for cooperation between the two companies,” Patel said. “We want Hindustan Copper to expand its mines not just in India but also overseas.”

Copper demand is rising in China and India, the world’s fastest growing major economies, as the nations build more homes, automobiles and appliances and upgrade power-grid networks. Global growth in copper sales is likely to exceed the pace of supply this year, according to a mid-April forecast by the International Copper Study Group.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, said April 5 it is confident China’s copper needs will continue to grow even if the nation’s economy slows. China uses 40 percent of the copper produced worldwide.

Overseas Resources

India is securing mineral resources overseas to sustain its economic growth. The nation’s copper demand is expected to quadruple to 2.4 million metric tons by 2025, according to the mines ministry.

Hindustan Copper plans to more than triple its ore production to 12.4 million tons in five years, Mines Director Avijit Ghosh said today in a phone interview from Kolkata, where the company is based. Hindustan Copper is seeking mines in Colombia and will soon start talks with the Colombian government, he said.

The company will collaborate with National Aluminium Co., the nation’s second-largest producer, on mining ventures overseas, Patel said. Hindustan Copper plans to partner with National Aluminium to develop the Malanjkhand copper mines in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, National Aluminium Chairman B.L. Bagra said in February.

India will also continue to look for coal and phosphate mines to reduce dependence on imports, Patel said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rajesh Kumar Singh in New Delhi at rsingh133@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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