In news : Recently, Industry bodies urged Tamil Nadu government to work out solution to restart Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin
The state government had ordered the pollution control board to seal and “permanently” close the plant, following violent protests over pollution concerns in 2018. Sterlite Copper later moved the Supreme Court to resolve the issue, where the matter is pending.
Impact on industries
- The industry bodies, whose members constitute SME and MSME units, told that the closure of the plant has caused supply disruptions, leading to a rise in imports and increased cost of production.
- Because copper is a major component used by the players of this industry and the plant used to cater around 35-40 per cent of the country’s total copper requirement.
- As per the market experts, the electrical equipment industry is suffering a lot because of plant’s closure
Impact on copper production and its trade
- Prices of copper have risen by 30-40 per cent in the last few months and fixed-rate contracts of electrical equipment makers with government or private are being affected.
- As per industry data, India’s refined copper production was about 8,48,000 tonne in 2017-18, while the exports stood over 4,16,000 tonne and imports were at 2,15,000 tonne.
- In 2019-20, the country’s production of refined copper reduced to 4,08,000 tonne, and exports fell to 29,000 tonne, while imports rose to 3,45,000 tonne.
Major copper mines in India
They are Khetri copper belt in Rajasthan, Singhbhum copper belt in Jharkhand and Malanjkhand copper belt in Madhya Pradesh which are mined by HCL; Singhbhum belt is mined by M/s Indian Copper Complex.
- It is a subsidiary of Sterlite industries, a company owned by Vedanta Limited.
- Sterlite Copper has steadily grown to become one of the leading contributors to copper production in India, contributing upto 40% of India’s demand for refined copper.