Business Standard: March 17, 2015
Chennai: Sterlite Copper, part of the $12.9-billion Vedanta group, is set for a Rs 3,300-crore expansion at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.
The plant has faced legal battles over ecology issues and has since earmarked about Rs 450 crore for environmental protection. P Ramnath, chief executive officer of Sterlite Copper, said after the expansion, the plant would be Asia’s largest copper manufacturing facility at a single location. It is India’s largest copper producer, with 400,000 tonnes of annual production capacity, supplying 45 per cent of the country’s need.
“We would like to take up the expansion this year,” Ramnath said recently. Downstream industries which could be supported by this plant had a potential to create 18,600 jobs and could invest around Rs 1,020 crore, he added.
In the past five years, Sterlite Copper has invested around Rs 300 crore on pollution control. Ramnath says it is one of the few copper smelters in the world with zero liquid discharge. Annual sales revenue is Rs 22,000 crore.
Tamil Nadu share in world copper production in 2013-14 was two per cent and this is expected to increase to 3.5 per cent in 2017-18. Copper exports were 155,000 tonnes and this is expected to increase to 395,000 tonnes. Direct employment is expected to increase to 9,000 from the current 5,000 and indirect employment to 29,000 from the current 20,000, said the CEO.
Permission for the expansion has been sought and got stuck since 2008, with different non-government bodies and the state pollution control board going to court to demand a stoppage of operations. The factory was shut more than once, including 85 days in 2013. The company pleaded with the National Green Tribunal that it had invested around Rs 500 crore on environmental impact measures. Finally after several rounds of battles in different courts, the company got a clean chit from both the Tribunal and the Supreme Court.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.