The making of Birla Copper Dahej

15 December, 2017

Birla Copper Dahej, the copper unit of Hindalco Industries Limited, is one of the largest single location custom copper smelters in the world

A look into the making of Birla Copper Dahej, Hindalco’s copper unit, which is today one of the largest single location custom copper smelters in the world

Located at Dahej on the west coast of India, the copper plant comprises copper smelters, backed by a captive power plant, oxygen plants, by-products plants, utilities and a captive jetty. There is also a precious metals recovery plant which produces gold, silver, selenium and platinum.

 

QUICK FACTS – BIRLA COPPER

  • Established in: 1998
  • Location: Dahej in Gujarat's Bharuch district
  • The plant is among the largest single-location copper smelters in the world
  • Dahej plant comprises copper smelters, refineries, rod plants, captive power plant and a jetty, and other utilities.
  • The plant operates: 24/7/365
  • It is ISO 9001, 14001 and OSHAS 18001 certified and registered on the London Metal Exchange
  • Products
    • Copper cathodes
    • Continuous cast copper rods
    • Gold and silver
    • Sulphuric acid
    • Di-ammonuim phosphate (Fertiliser)
    • Other by-products: Copper slag and phospho gypsum
  • Business Today CSR Excellence Award, 2016 for promoting education through its Education for All initiative in 2016-17
  • FAI Environmental Protection Award, 2015
  • 16th Annual Greentech Environment Gold Award 2015 in metal and mining sector

Launched with a production capacity of 100,000 TPA, the production capacity has been consistently scaled to meet the increasing demands of copper. The plant currently has a capacity to produce 500,000 TPA.

Copper cathodes and continuous cast copper rods are the main products of the Dahej plant. In addition, the plant also produces gold and silver, sulphuric and phosphoric acid, di-ammonuim phosphate, phospho gypsum, and copper slag.

Dahej Harbour & Infrastructure Limited (DHIL)

Copper concentrate, the primary raw material for the copper manufacturing process, is imported through ships at the plant's captive jetty managed by Dahej Harbour and Infrastructure Limited. The port, the second most difficult port after Alaska, has a capacity to handle four million tonnes of cargo per annum.

Smelter

Copper is typically extracted by smelting copper concentrate (copper 27 per cent, iron 28 per cent and sulphur 30 per cent) to produce copper. Other ores are also extracted at the plant. Dahej plant has two smelters – smelter 1 based on Outotec Flash Smelting Process and Smelter 3 based on the Mitsubishi continuous process, a superior technology.

Refinery

Dahej plant has two refineries with a capacity to produce five lakh MTPA. Through electrolysis, impurities are removed and copper of 99.99 per cent is produced. Hindalco''s copper cathodes meet the international quality standards BS 6017 1981 (1989) and u-Cath-1 / ASTM B-115 (1999) and are registered as LME A Grade. They are used in the manufacture of continuous copper rods for the wire, cable and transformer industries, and copper tubes for consumer durable goods and other applications in the form of alloys and sheets.

Continuous cast rod (CCR)

Hindalco is the only manufacturer in India for 19.6 mm diameter copper rod used for railway electrification. A new state-of-the-art facility, CCR3, is being set up at the plant with German technology and is expected to go on stream in 2018. Once operational, the plant will have a capacity to produce 244,000 TPA of continuous cast rods, the largest in the country. It will help in saving valuable foreign exchange for the country by cutting down the imports and ensure Hindalco''s pre-eminent position as the largest manufacturer of copper rods.

Fertiliser: Creating value out of waste

Dahej plant – the third largest phosphoric acid producer in India – produces phosphoric acid and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) as value-added downstream products. The DAP plant, which went on stream in 2000, has a capacity of 400,000 TPA. The products are marketed under the well-known brand Birla Balwan. About half of the sulphuric acid, a byproduct from the copper plant, is used for the generation of sulphuric acid which is used to make phosphoric acid.

Safety: A core value

Safety is paramount at the Dahej plant. Taskforce and clusters to evaluate and monitor the safety standards have succeeded in ensuring a high degree of operational and safety excellence not only at the plant but also at its schools, hospitals and townships.

Quality: Not a slogan but a way of life

Quality consciousness is the foundation for Birla Copper Dahej plant's success. Laboratories at the plant – seven labs manned by a 59-member staff, are accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories in accordance with the standard ISO/IEC 17025:1999.

CSR: Fostering wellbeing

In addition to its copper products, the Dahej plant also shines for its CSR programme. As a conscientious neighbour, the plant contributes to the well-being of communities and works closely with them to manage the social impacts of its business activities. Through its focus areas — education, healthcare, sustainable livelihood and infrastructure, the company has brought positive change to over a lakh people spread across 69 villages in Vagra tehsil of Gujarat's Bharuch district. The company''s CSR magazine is published yearly in the local language and shared with the villagers, local bodies and NGOs active in the region.

Sustainability: Thinking about tomorrow today

Ensuring sustainability is embedded in the Birla Copper Dahej's work culture, the company has set self-imposed environmental targets to drive continual improvement. Adequate mitigation measures including water pollution control units, air pollution control units and hazardous / solid waste management systems have been installed to minimise the effects on environment. The green belt around the plant has over 357,590 trees.

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