MAC: Mines and Communities

India: Vedanta resumes operations at Tuticorin smelter

Published by MAC on 2013-06-28
Source: Express News Service, Business Today (2013-06-25)

Green Tribunal permits test run on emissions

Expert panel begins final phase of checks at Sterlite

By Express News Service

25 June 2013

THOOTHUKUDI - A five-member expert team appointed by the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi, visited the Sterlite plant here on Monday for the final phase of inspection.

The team oversaw production processes at the plant during the test run.

According to sources, the team led by Professor Sai of IIT-Madras and members- Ligy Philip of IIT-M, Kamyotra, member-secretary of Central Pollution Control Board, Murugan, deputy executive engineer of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and Dhanasekar, scientific officer of Air Care Centre in Chennai- inspected processes associated with copper production.

Sources said that the sulphur dioxide plant would also be inspected for emission tests.

TNPCB officials would remain at the site till Friday to inspect the air quality at the chimney and air levels. They would also conduct air quality inspections in villages around Sterlite and submit their report to the team, the sources added.

On March 29, the TNPCB had ordered closure of the plant following reports of sulphur dioxide leakage.

Sterlite Copper had approached the NGT's Southern Bench against the TNPCB order. The Southern Bench ordered the formation of an expert team and sought its report.

However, at the time of submission of the report, the Southern Bench recused itself from the case, which was then shifted to the NGT's Principal Bench.

The Principal Bench granted an interim stay on the TNPCB order and ordered reopening of the plant monitored by an expert team.

The first phase of inspection was completed on June 7. During the second phase of inspection on June 16, the oxygen plant started functioning and calibration process associated with the copper plant was initiated on that day.


Sterlite Industries' copper smelter plant resumes operations under vigil

Business Today

17 June 2013

Tuticorin - The Sterlite Copper Smelter unit in Tuticorin has resumed operations after the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) expert panel gave a green signal.

The panel members conducted its second phase of inspection on Sunday and checked if the pollution monitoring equipment at the unit was working properly. Later, they gave the green signal for the operation of the plant and the oxygen plant of the unit was started around 6 pm.

"Full-fledged working of the plant is expected to commence in a few days, maximum one week, when production would start," officials said.

The team, comprising IIT Professors Sai, Liji Philip, Member-Secretary of Central Pollution control board Kamyotra, and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) Member-Secretary Balaji, would conduct one more phase of inspection and a report would be submitted to NGT and the Supreme Court after that.

Officials said the team is expected to stay during the unit's running to see if there is any impact on the environment.

The plant was shut down over two months ago on an order of the TNPCB over complaints that it was emitting toxic sulphur dioxide. The NGT then set aside the TNPCB order and allowed Sterlite Industries Ltd to resume operation of its copper smelting unit. It had also ordered constitution of the four-member expert panel to supervise the plant's operations.

The TNPCB then moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the green panel's order but the apex court refused to stay the NGT order allowing Sterlite Industries Ltd to resume operation of its smelting plant in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district under an expert committee's supervision.

With inputs from PTI

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