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Supreme Court stays order on Sterlite plant closure

New Delhi/Chennai, Oct 1 (Calcutta Tube) The Supreme Court Friday stayed till Oct 18 the Madras High Court order asking Sterlite Industries to shut down its copper smelter plant in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.

Sterlite Industries, part of the London-based Vedanta Resources, had moved the apex court Thursday against the order of the high court, which Tuesday had ordered immediate shut down of the plant on environmental grounds.

The company, in a special leave petition against the order, had claimed that the high court did not give it a proper hearing and ignored its submissions.

‘The Supreme Court has accepted our plea and stayed the Madras High Court’s order. The court has also permitted us to commence production,’ said Iyer Sundar Raj, public relations head.

Sterlite has spent around Rs.500 crore on expansion of its Tuticorin plant.

Last year Sterlite had announced additional investment to double its copper smelter capacity to 800,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) and setting up of a 160 MW captive power plant at Tuticorin, around 580 km from here, to be commissioned next year.

‘The total expansion outlay is Rs.3,000 crore (Rs.2,400 crore for expanding the copper smelter and associated plants and Rs.600 crore for power project). Till date Rs.500 crore has been invested for the expansion project,’ Raj said.

The expansion, according to Chairman Anil Agarwal, is ‘to reduce our costs and put us amongst the lowest quartile cost custom smelters in the world.’

Sterlite’s copper business comprises smelting and processing of copper and production of by-products. The operations include a smelter, refinery, phosphoric acid plant, sulphuric acid plant and copper rod plant.

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