Scrap Recycling of Non-Ferrous Metals

India Mar 18, 2021

The government has recently released a framework for scrap recycling of non-ferrous metals, including aluminium and copper, with the objective of reducing scrap imports.

The mining ministry is of the opinion that one of the major challenges faced by the non-ferrous metals industry is its over-dependence on import of scrap metal. They emphasized that a majority of the demand is dependent on imports due to underdeveloped scrap metal collection, segregation and processing infrastructure in the domestic market. In addition to this, they also said they will work towards creating a more sustainable environment for non-ferrous metal scrap recycling.

There has been an increase in the demand for aluminium and it's compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is at 6.77 per cent. The production also has been on the rise and has gone from 3.3 million tonnes (MT) in 2015 to approximately 5 MT in 2019 at a CAGR of 11.19 per cent.

Since the demand for aluminium is expected to rise in the future, there will be heavy dependence on it's domestic production and imports. Considering the fact that aluminium is an energy intensive sector, the demand for coal, the primary energy source for it's extraction will also increase.

However, depending on a non renewable source of energy such as coal doesn't match up to global sustainable development goals and will result in high carbon footprints. This will also lead to a trade imbalance due to growing demand of import. Therefore, recycling becomes a viable alternative since it requires 95 percent less energy to recycle aluminium than to produce aluminium.

According to the ministry, the demand for copper in India is expected to increase at a rate of 6-7 percent due to emphasis of the government on programmes such as 'Make in India' and 'Smart City', development of industrial corridors and many other programmes.

The green energy corridor is a grid of connected networks for the transmission of renewable energy produced from various renewable energy projects. Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) envisaged this project in a report titled ‘Green Energy Corridors’. It is proposed to be a dedicated transmission network for renewable energy across different states.

There is expected to be growth in the market for electric vehicles (EV) in the coming years. Copper is essential to the development of EV technology and it's supporting infrastructure, and the demand for copper will increase with the demand for electric vehicles.

The copper consumption in India is expected to go from 0.6 kg to 1 kg by 2025. The import of copper has increased in the last five years at a CAGR of 10.65 percent. The ministry plans on recycling copper to meet a certain portion of it's demand.

These guidelines are extremely important and show the emphasis of the government on sustainable means of development of the various non-ferrous metal industries.

This article has been written by Sherwyn Fernandes for The Paradigm

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