Tamil Nadu seeking permanent closure of Vedanta’s copper smelter

Vastavam web: India’s Tamil Nadu state said on Thursday that it was seeking a permanent closure of a big copper smelter run by London-listed Vedanta Resources (VED.L) after 13 people died in protests demanding the closure of the plant on environmental grounds.“The government’s position is very clear, it doesn’t want the plant to run,” said Sandeep Nanduri, the top official of the district where the plant is located, after a meeting with senior state government officials.

Residents and environmental activists say emissions from the plant, India’s second biggest, are polluting the air and water, affecting people’s health.Earlier on Thursday, authorities cut the power to the smelter. The pollution control board of Tamil Nadu said the smelter, which was shut pending renewal of its operating license, was found last week to be preparing to resume production without permission.In a statement late on Thursday, it said only that it was working with authorities to restore power to the plant, which has been offline since March 27.

The company has previously denied that the smelter has been polluting the air and water.It did not elaborate on the conditions the smelter had not met but said it “shall be disconnected with power supply and closed with immediate effect”.The agency told Vedanta it could not resume operations without permission.The copper smelter contributed about 5.4 percent to the company’s consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in its financial year 2017-18, Vedanta said.