This growth is based on a strong foundation of policy reforms, public & private investment, and consumer spending in various end-use sectors such as building construction, renewable energy, electric mobility, industrial, railways & metros, power transmission & distribution, and white goods.
The copper demand registered double-digit growth for consecutive years after a contraction in FY21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current trend indicates sustained and robust growth opportunities for new investments in the Indian copper industry.
The transportation sector, including automotive, railways, and metros, is one of the primary drivers of this growth, which has witnessed a 34 percent increase in copper demand. This can be attributed to the electrification & modernisation of railways, the addition of rapid transportation, and 21% growth in sales of automobiles including the rising adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).
In the construction sector, an 11% growth in copper demand can be attributed to the increased use of copper per square foot, especially in premium, high and middle-income houses.
The Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme has driven capex expansion in industrial sectors, with INR 1.7 lakh Crore of investments being announced, leading to an increase in copper demand.The pent-up demand from FY21 and FY22, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in remarkable growth in FY23 in the consumer durables sector, such as Room Air Conditioners (RACs) and electronic devices like laptops, PCs, and mobile phones. Rising disposable income has also contributed to this sector’s growth.Mayur Karmarkar, Managing Director, ICA India said, “Indian copper demand is driven by economic growth and infrastructure development. The copper demand will be further sustained in view of urbanization trend from the current 36% to 43% by 2035. The government has officially classified the metal as a critical mineral as it is essential for advancement in many sectors including hi-tech electronics, telecommunication, transportation, defense and clean energy transition.”
“As copper is a versatile material used in various forms and across many applications in clean energy solutions, thereby enabling abetment of 2/3rd of global Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG). One tonne of copper used in clean energy technologies saves between 100 to 3,750 tonnes of GHG emissions making copper not only an energy efficient but also an economic metal,” he added.
This demand was met through increased production of refined copper (cathode) from 485 KT in FY22 to 563 KT in FY23. To fill the balance supply gap, the net imports of refined copper increased by 180%, and 22% increase in the use of secondary copper (direct melt).