The move by Vedanta, which controls Sterlite Industries, India’s biggest producer of non-ferrous metals, including aluminium, copper and zinc, follows the $2.6bn takeover of US copper producer Asarco last month.

India produces 89 minerals and is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries, ranking third in the production of coal and fourth in iron ore, although it is widely recognised as being underexploited due to insufficient investment and the limited role of the private sector.

Advertisement

Vedanta is the biggest private sector group in India, targeting production of one million tonnes each in its zinc, copper and aluminium operations. The company is planning to invest $8.8bn to meet these targets by expanding its smelting plants and mining operations for these metals, mostly in India.