Before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed markets, global aluminium production was forecast to offset demand by 760,000mt in Q1 2020 (Jan-March). World consumption of aluminium was estimated to reach 15.37mn mt against global production of 16.13mn mt.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has impacted non-ferrous metal production. India’s copper, zinc and lead producers could not meet their monthly production target, reveals the ministry of mines data for Feb 2020.
As the LME three-month aluminium contract fell by 4.50pc in February to $1,711/mt from 1,771.73/mt in January, three of the four primary aluminium producers cut their production in Feb 2020.
Among the four Indian primary metal producers, Vedanta Limited produced 1,06,858mt of aluminium as against its target of 119,711mt, down by 12.26pc. Nalco produced 32,211mt as against a production target of 35,000 for the month, down by 8.66pc. Hindalco produced 103,921mt, down by 0.97pc from its target of 104,029mt.
Balco, however, surpassed its monthly production target and output rose by 0.46pc to 45,767mt as against the target of 45,558mt.
In eleven months from April 2019 to Feb 2020, the four producers produced 33,33,744mt, down by 1.41pc from 33,80,171mt in the same period last year.
Nalco sold 1,25,183mt of aluminium hydrate metal in Feb 2020
Indian consumption of refined copper is around 660,000mt with Sterlite Industries, Hindalco and Hindustan Copper (HCL) as major producers of refined copper. Copper production declined following the permanent closure of Vedanta’s smelter/refinery plant by the Tamil Nadu Government in May 2018.
HCL the only copper ore producer in India produced 317,000mt of copper ore in Feb 2020, down by 10.2pc from 353,000mt from the prior-year period.
On shortage of copper concentrate supply, HCL reported nil copper cathode production in Feb 2020. In the prior-year period, the company had produced 1,400mt of copper cathodes. HCL’s copper concentrate output also fell to 2,167mt in Feb 2020, from 2,364mt in the previous year.
Collective production by HCL, Hindalco, SSL was 36,731mt in Feb 2020, 2,121mt lower than the production target.
In April 2019 – Feb 2020, the three companies produced 331,456mt of copper, down from 373,701mt in the prior-year period.
Hindustan Zinc (HZL) produced 63,421mt of zinc in Feb 2020, a drop from 76,403mt of its monthly target production. Eleven months’ production till February was 641,690mt, up from 630,564mt in the prior-year period.
HZL also produces lead. The company produced 16,893mt of lead in Feb 2020, lower than targetted 20,897mt for the month. In April 2019- Feb 2020, HZL produced 165,964mt compared to 176,252mt in the prior-year period.