Sterlite smelter emissions within limits during inspection: report

NEW DELHI Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:25pm IST

A general view shows Sterlite Industries Ltd's copper plant in Tuticorin, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu April 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

A general view shows Sterlite Industries Ltd's copper plant in Tuticorin, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu April 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An environmental report into India's biggest copper smelter found no major irregularities in its operation or any negative impact on air quality during an inspection, but calls for safety audits, regular maintenance and better air quality monitoring.

The report, commissioned by the environment court considering whether Sterlite Industries' STRL.NS smelter should remain in operation, will be used by Judge Swatanter Kumar to reach a ruling. The case resumes on July 15.

India was forced to boost copper imports when the smelter, which accounts for over half of the country's refined copper output, was closed for more than two months from March 30, after residents protested about of air pollution.

The plant, which produces 30,000 tonnes of copper per month, re-opened on an interim court order on June 16.

The Indian smelter has long been the target of protesters and politicians who call it a risk to fisheries in the coastal town of Tuticorin, near the southern tip of India.

The court-commissioned environment report, seen by Reuters, also called for a mechanism to inform residents near the plant in the event of an accident.

On the issue of air quality, it said "not much inference can be drawn as regard to the contribution of emissions from the plant to the ambient air quality considering that the wind velocity during the period (of inspection) was very high, which helped in immediate dispersion of the pollutants".

It said sulphur dioxide emissions were within allowable limits during the inspection period.

The company says the smelter, which has been operating at fully capacity since it restarted, does not have emissions above prescribed limits. Sterlite's parent Vedanta Resources Plc (VED.L) is also exporting 4,000 tonnes of refined copper a month from Dubai to India, the company source said.

Several cases have been filed against Sterlite since its Indian smelter started in 1996. In a different case, India's top court in April fined the company about $18 million for breaking environmental laws at the smelter.

Sterlite, whose parent is controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, has been waiting for government clearances to double the capacity of the smelter to 800,000 tonnes a year.

India's cable makers such as Finolex Cables Ltd (FNXC.NS) and Precision Wires India Ltd (PRWR.NS) have traditionally bought copper from the two biggest producers, Sterlite and Hindalco Industries Ltd (HALC.NS).

(Editing by Michael Perry)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Earnings Season

Earnings Season

Reliance Q4 sales rise, refining margin narrows.  Read 

Innovative Solution

Innovative Solution

Turning smog into jewels - a Dutch designer's solution to Beijing's pollution.  Video 

Insider Trading

Insider Trading

Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges.  Full Article 

Literary Giant Dies

Literary Giant Dies

Mourning and memories in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's languid hometown.  Full Article 

S&P on India

S&P on India

S&P: India's ratings to depend on next govt econ, fiscal policies.  Full Article 

Ambitious Aim

Ambitious Aim

In green car race, Toyota adds muscle with fuel-cell launch.  Full Article 

Bond Market

Bond Market

A star abroad, RBI boss riles bond traders at home  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage