According to the International Copper Association India’s (ICA India) Copper Demand Study in India (FY23), India’s copper demand has increased by 16% to reach 15.22 lakh tons in 2023. This expansion may be ascribed to a variety of causes, including governmental changes, public and private investment, and increasing consumer spending in a variety of industries.
With a 34% rise in copper demand, the transportation sector, which includes automobiles, trains, and metros, has emerged as one of the key drivers of this expansion. This tendency has been aided by the electrification and upgrading of railroads, the growth of fast transit, and the increasing usage of electric vehicles (EVs). Furthermore, copper demand in the building industry has climbed by 11%, owing to increasing usage of copper per square foot in premium and middle-income homes.
The Indian copper sector has had persistent and substantial development potential, particularly after a recession in FY21 as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. The Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) plan has encouraged capital development in numerous industrial sectors, resulting in increased copper demand. Furthermore, pent-up demand from past years, along with increased disposable income, has propelled the consumer durables sector’s spectacular rise, which includes room air conditioners and electronic equipment such as laptops, PCs, and mobile phones.
ICA India’s Managing Director, Mayur Karmarkar, underlines the relevance of copper in India’s economic growth and infrastructural development. He emphasizes that metal has been formally recognized by the government as a vital mineral, owing to its importance in areas such as high-tech electronics, communications, transportation, military, and renewable energy transition.
The adaptability of copper as a material utilized in numerous forms and applications in clean energy solutions is notable. It allows for the reduction of two-thirds of world greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Each tonne of copper used in clean energy technology saves between 100 and 3,750 tons of GHG emissions, making copper not only energy-efficient but also a cost-effective metal.
To satisfy rising demand, India raised refined copper (cathode) output from 485 KT in FY22 to 563 KT in FY23. Furthermore, net imports of refined copper have increased by 180%, while the usage of secondary copper (direct melt) has increased by 22% to meet the supply deficit.
As India focuses on economic development and infrastructural expansion, the copper sector offers substantial investment and growth potential. However, difficulties such as establishing a sustainable supply chain, encouraging ethical mining techniques, and resolving environmental concerns linked with copper extraction and use must be addressed as well. By doing so, India can capitalize on the copper industry’s potential while also contributing to its long-term viability.