‘If government of India and Karnataka…’: Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal has a fix for India’s gold, copper pinch

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Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal has pushed for private sector involvement to reduce India’s reliance on imported gold and copper despite having ample resources. “India consumes around 900 tonnes of gold each year but produces only 1 tonne domestically. Our imports of gold every year are worth $45 billion or Rs 3.4 lakh crore. In copper, we import 95% of our requirement worth over $3 billion a year or Rs 24,000 crore,” Agarwal said in a post on X. 

Prices of both gold and copper are at, or near, record highs, he wrote. 

Agarwal highlighted the common thread in the gold and copper sectors: Public sector companies. 

“In gold, we have the Hatti Gold Mines, owned by the Government of Karnataka, and Bharat Gold Mines, owned by the Government of India. For copper, it is Hindustan Copper Limited. Despite their potential, production has remained stagnant.”

“Some might argue that there are no remaining reserves or resources,” Agarwal noted, “but I believe that with additional investment and the latest technology, these assets have immense potential. Of course, it is a risky investment because we cannot be sure of the outcome, and the government has other priorities for spending.”

Given these challenges, Agarwal emphasized that inviting private sector participation seems to be the best solution. “If the Government of India and Karnataka divest their shares, private companies are capable of taking over. If it succeeds, the Government will earn a huge amount of revenue through taxes and royalties.”

He also stressed the importance of protecting jobs: “There should be no retrenchment. In fact, substituting imports with domestic production and expanding these industries could lead to the development of thousands of downstream industries, creating massive job opportunities. This is the need of the hour. A positive outcome will be hugely beneficial for Bharat.”

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