Economic & Industrial

Adani kicks off $1.2 billion Indian copper smelter

Adani kicks off $1.2 billion Indian copper smelter
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has started operating the first unit of his $1.2 billion copper smelter, the tycoon’s first foray into metals refining.

Adani Enterprises Ltd., the port-to-power conglomerate’s flagship company, commissioned the unit of the refinery in the western state of Gujarat, it said in a statement on Thursday. Subsidiary Kutch Copper has already dispatched its first batch of cathodes to customers, it said.

The plant will be the world’s largest single-location custom smelter for the industrial metal. It will initially have capacity of 500,000 tons a year, and this will double in the second phase of the project.

The smelter is starting up just as Chinese copper producers are struggling with plunging processing fees, which is threatening to wipe out their profits. Demand for the metal is expected to rise in India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes ahead with efforts to modernize the country’s creaking infrastructure.

“With Kutch Copper commencing operations, the Adani portfolio of companies is not only entering the metals sector, but also driving India’s leap towards a sustainable and self-reliant future,” Adani said in the statement.

The tycoon survived a damaging short seller attack against his embattled conglomerate last year. Adani denied allegations of corporate fraud and stock manipulation from Hindenburg Research, but was forced to temporarily scale back expansion plans.

The group has since raised fresh equity and refinanced debts, regaining the confidence of investors and bankers. The combined market value of the conglomerate now stands at $188 billion up from a low of $82 billion in February 2023.

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