Hindustan Zinc Ltd. is targeting a major boost in output and accelerating plans to decarbonize its operations under Chairwoman Priya Agarwal Hebbar.
(Bloomberg) — Hindustan Zinc Ltd. is targeting a major boost in output and accelerating plans to decarbonize its operations under Chairwoman Priya Agarwal Hebbar.
The daughter of Anil Agarwal, the billionaire founder of Hindustan’s parent Vedanta Resources Ltd., Agarwal Hebbar will be steering the company through a period of expansion in which it will take advantage of a splurge of infrastructure building in India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aim of greening the economy.
The producer of zinc, used to galvanize steel to prevent rusting, said last week that it wants to grow its annual mined metal output to 1.5 million tons, from around 1 million tons now.
The company is planning to do this by March 2025, Agarwal Hebbar, who took over as chair at the start of the year, said in an interview.
“When we are looking at infrastructure development, we are looking at the growth of steel,” she said. “And to create sustainable infrastructure, it needs to be galvanized steel.”
India is entering a nation-building phase, supporting demand for steel and other metals. The world’s third-largest emitter is also moving to wean itself off coal — which generates about 70% of its power — and has plans to expand into clean-energy technologies.
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Hindustan Zinc will spend $1 billion over the next decade to cut its current dependence on coal, said Agarwal Hebbar, who also sits on the board of Vedanta and helms the ESG vertical of the group. Most of that money would go toward replacing coal as the major energy source for its smelters with solar and wind, she said.
A deal with Serentica Renewables, who will supply Hindustan Zinc with 450 megawatts of solar and wind power a year, will help cut coal use at its smelters in half by the end of 2025, Agarwal Hebbar said. The company is also targeting 75% electrification of its fleet of mining vehicles by 2035 and 100% five years later, she said.
It’s also possible that the zinc producer will expand into mining or refining of metals that are crucial to the energy transition.
In June, New Delhi released a list of minerals — including copper, lithium and nickel — that it considers critical for its economic growth and where it sees supply risks. It also amended mining laws last month to make it easier for private miners to search for some minerals including lithium.
Hindustan Zinc is open to buying critical metals assets, Agarwal Hebbar said. It’s a “very exciting time,” she said. “Whatever seems relevant for us, we will definitely consider it.”
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