Published On:February 1 2023
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Vedanta shelves plan to sell copper plant at Tuticorin.

Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta has dropped plans to sell its copper smelter at Tuticorin due to poor response to its attempt to find a credible suitor for the plant which was shut about four years back.

Incidentally on February 21, the Supreme Court will hear the company’s petition to restart operations at the plant which once accounted for 40 per cent of copper production in the country.

The company did not offer any comment to businessline’s query.

Vedanta will make one last-ditch effort to restart the plant under the Supreme Court supervision as various green energy projects happening in India are set to boost domestic copper demand, said sources.

Last June, Vedanta sought expression of interest from potential buyers for acquiring the 4 lakh tonne per annum copper plant. It contributed ₹2,500 crore to the exchequer, 12 per cent of Tuticorin port revenue and had market share of 95 per cent of sulphuric acid. It directly employed 5,000 people and another 25,000 indirectly through the value chain.

Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper was functioning in the Thoothukudi SIPCOT premises since its inception in 1996 and had become one of the leading copper producers in the country.

The smelter was closed in 2018 on orders from the Tamil Nadu government following the death of more than a dozen people when police opened fire on villagers protesting the pollution emanating from the factory.

In April 2021, Vedanta called for an Expression of Interest (EoI) from State governments for setting up a 500 kilo tonnes per annum(KTPA) smelter plant that will require about 1,000 acres of land in an attempt to shift the copper plant from Tuticorin.

The project had envisaged an investment potential of about ₹10,000 crore and provide direct and indirect employment to 10,000 people besides contributing about ₹3,000 crore to the exchequer annually.

The copper smelter requires land in proximity to a port along with logistics connectivity with conveyor/corridor of rail and road to handle 5 MTPA material movement on both in-bound and out-bound side, Vedanta had said.


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