Vedanta Ltd has said that it is working with regulatory authorities to fast-track restart of operations at its copper plant in Tuticorin. The Tamil Nadu government had in May ordered the permanent closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit in the state after 13 people among protesters, demanding its shutdown on environmental concerns, were killed in police firing.
“At Tuticorin, our copper smelting operations were shut at the end of March, initially for scheduled maintenance activities. The shutdown has since been extended as the company’s annual renewal of its consent to operate was rejected by the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board, pending additional clarifications,” Vedanta said in its Annual Report 2017-18.
The company, it said, is working with the relevant regulatory authorities to expedite the restart of the operations of the plant. On its acquisition of Electrosteel Steels, the company said: “We see favourable market dynamics for steel in India, and together with integration efficiencies with our iron ore business in Jharkhand, this acquisition is value-accretive for Vedanta.”
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had earlier this month sought a response from the state government and the State Pollution Control Board on a plea moved by the metals and mining giant challenging the order to permanently close the Sterlite copper plant.
In April, the Tamil Nadu pollution control board rejected Sterlite’s plea to renew the Consent To Operate, saying the company did not comply with the stipulated conditions, following which the government issued a permanent closure order on May 28. The cancellation of land allotment for the proposed expansion of the Sterlite Copper plant had come a day after the government ordered the state Pollution Control Board to “seal and permanently close” the unit.