HZL sees Rs 8,000 cr capacity expansion spend in 3 to 4 yrs

Vedanta Group firm Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL), helped largely by expanding its existing mines and de-bottlenecking them, aims to take its metal capacity from 1 million tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes in the next three to four years.

The Rajasthan-based company’s Deputy CEO Sunil Duggal said that HZL plans to spend Rs 8,000 crore on the capacity expansion plan, mainly of two key metals in which it deals - zinc and lead.

In addition to this, another Rs 1,500 crore will be spent on three smelters of the company - mainly on their de-bottlenecking - which will increase extraction of zinc from the ore and make them more efficient and profitable, the official informed.

Producers of high quality of zinc and lead, HZL aims not only to expand its existing mines (it has four mines which consist of both zinc and lead reserves - RampuraAgucha, RajpuraDariba, SindesarKhurd and Zawar - all are located in Rajasthan), it is also on the look out for new mines.

Duggal, though did not elaborate on the acquisition plans regarding the mines, and stressed on the fact that focus will be more on decongesting (de-bottlenecking) the existing mines, as it is by doing this that the company will be able to achieve its capacity expansion target.

Apart from de-bottlenecking the mines with the help of new technologies, the company aims to curb waste generation. For de-bottlenecking purpose, HZL has engaged overseas firms and once this is done, then the ramping up operations will be undertaken, Duggal elaborated.

Also once the smelters become efficient, he said that the residue, which is generated from zinc production will be much cleaner as carbon dioxide emission will be lesser.

HZL’s board has given its approval for the Rs 8,000 crore spending required for capacity expansion, he said.

Sindesar Khurd is a silver rich mine, and through its own reserves the company currently produces 300 tonnes of silver annually. In five years time, the company is aiming to take silver production to 1,000 tonnes per annum, Duggal said.

Normally, silver is extracted through lead smelting, but HZL now plans to extract silver through zinc smelting which will lead to an increase in the precious metal’s output in the next five years.

Zinc’s ore consists of silver content apart from lead and among all the mines controlled by the company, Sindeswar Khurd mine contains of maximum reserves of silver.

Efforts are on to improve recoveries from mines where silver ore is available in abundance, Duggal explained.

About 13 million tonnes of zinc is produced annually worldwide. Around 58 per cent of the amount is used for galvanizing to protect steel from corrosion. Approximately 14 per cent is used the production of zinc die casting alloys. Lead metal is used in a number of applications including battery segment, lead-based pigments, and cathode ray tubes.

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