Court rules Sterlite copper smelter can stay open

NEW DELHI Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:01pm IST

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

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

Credit: Reuters/Stringer/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's top copper smelter can stay open, but should take extra steps to prevent pollution, an environmental court said on Monday, ensuring that over half of the country's output of the metal stays on stream.

The Sterlite Industries STRL.NS plant, which produces 30,000 tonnes of copper per month, was shut for more than two months from March 30 after complaints from residents over emissions, forcing India to increase imports of copper.

The plant re-opened on June 16 after an interim order from the court. Sterlite, a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc (VED.L), says the plant's emissions are not above prescribed limits.

Judge Swatanter Kumar said an expert committee found no instance of emissions beyond set limits but asked Sterlite to take additional anti-pollution measures, such as regular maintenance and better air-quality monitoring.

Sterlite's shares closed up about 3 percent after the verdict, though the company's legal hassles are not over yet. The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a previous appeal of the local pollution board requesting the closure of the plant.

The closure of the plant had forced Vedanta to export 4,000 tonnes of refined copper per month from Dubai to customers of Sterlite.

Vedanta would continue to export these quantities until production stabilises at the India plant, P. Ramnath, chief executive of Sterlite Copper, told Reuters.

The Sterlite 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.

Several cases have been filed against Sterlite since the plant 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.

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 Mark Potter)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

DEFENCE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Canonisation

Canonisation

Pope declares sainthood of two Indians, four Italians.  Full Article 

Stake Sale Strike

Stake Sale Strike

Coal India trade unions call off strike in victory for Modi.  Full Article 

Markets Weekahead

Markets Weekahead

Ride the bull with a finger on the ejector button.  Full Article 

Arms Purchase

Arms Purchase

India approves $2.6 bln mounted gun purchase - official.  Full Article 

Interview with Bulgari CEO

Interview: Bulgari CEO

Bulgari CEO: we shouldn’t have left India so we’re back  Full Article 

Formula One

Formula One

Hamilton takes second F1 title in style.  Full Article 

Available For Remake

Available For Remake

Bollywood finally wants to pay the price for remakes  Full Article 

Davis Cup

Davis Cup

Vintage Federer seals first Davis Cup for Switzerland.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Happy Ending" is old wine in an older bottle  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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