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Tuticorin operations closure to cause monthly loss of USD 210 million, says Sterlite Copper CEO

Last month, the Tamil Nadu government had directed the State Pollution Control Board to seal Vedanta group's copper plant and shut it down permanently following violent protests.

Published: 07th June 2018 12:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th June 2018 12:49 AM   |  A+A-

Vedanta produced about 48 per cent of India's total copper output of 842,961 tonnes in 2017-18. (express photo by Karthik Alagu)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Mining giant Vedanta faces a potential revenue loss to the tune of USD 210 million per month due to closing of operations at its smelter unit at Tuticorin, a top company official said today.

Last month, the Tamil Nadu government had directed the State Pollution Control Board to seal Vedanta group's copper plant and shut it down "permanently" following violent protests during which 13 people were killed in police firing.

Every month the company sells about 30,000 tonnes of refined copper and multiplied by an average price of USD 7,000 per tonne it comes to USD 210 million, Sterlite Copper CEO P Ramnath said here addressing the media.

"That's a potential revenue loss...but again revenue loss does not translate to bottomline loss," he said in reply to a query.

He emphasised, "It is not just loss to the company, it is loss for both the society and the consumers...There were around 3,500 people who were dependent on us.

How will they be taking care of their families now? Their savings, if they have any, will last how long.

" Ramnath also said that his company's unit was not emitting even a kg of sulphur dioxide."According to national norm, emission of 2 kg of sulphur dioxide is permitted on production of 1 tonne of sulphuric acid.

For us the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had set it at 1 kg sulphur dioxide on production of 1 tonne sulphuric acid but we were emitting 0.5 kg which is below the standards as compared to power plants in there," he said.

"If you compare the amount of sulphur dioxide we emit, of the total sulphur dioxide being emitted from rest of the plants in Tuticorin, our contribution is just 1 per cent, the 99 per cent emission of sulphur dioxide is being done by power plants there." Asked if the plant was following norms, why were people protesting against it, the CEO said there could be various reasons including vested interest.

"All (those protesting) including the NGOs have their own reasons to protest.There are various myths which need to be broken," the official said. The NGOs have their vested interest and are angry after their funding were stopped under FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act), he alleged adding, "They may be backed by foreign entities".

To support his point, he said India is a huge market after China and lots of players are eying India and added "It could be possible that they don't want India to be self-sufficient." "We had faced issues in Niyamgiri and there were reports that there were NGOs who were involved in it," the CEO said.

He also said that he suspects role of some anti-social elements in sparking the protest.



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