India is a major importer of copper ore and concentrates and imports about 90% of its copper needs due to lack of copper reserves or mines in India. In 2019-20 India became a net importer of refined copper according to CARE Ratings.
The closure of the Tuticorin smelter plant around May 2018 brought about further uncertainty to the Indian Copper industry. The production of refined copper was around 450,000 tonnes in year 2019-2020 which was about 1.5% less when compared to the 2018-2019 figures.
However, imports of copper ore and concentrates fell by 44.6 per cent during FY19 due to a lack of requirement from the Tuticorin Copper plant.
While imports rose by 70.2 per cent, exports of refined copper declined by 7.1 per cent to 17.1 thousand tonnes during April-October 2019 compared to the year-ago period. Imports of refined copper grew 70.2 per cent to 95.4 thousand tonnes during April-October 2019 from 56 thousand tonnes in April-October 2018. On, the other hand, exports declined by 7.1 per cent to 17.1 thousand tonnes during the period.