Sterlite Copper

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Sterlite Industries (India) Limited
Private company
Traded as NYSESLT
BSE SENSEX Constituent
Industry Metal, Mining
Successor Sesa Sterlite Limited
Founded 8 September 1975, Calcutta,India
Area served
Key people
Anil Agarwal
Revenue Increase₹126.58 billion (2007-08)[1]
Number of employees
Parent Vedanta Resources


The company operated a copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi, India until it was shut down by the Government of Tamil Nadu in May 2018. The plant also included a refinery, a phosphoric acid plant and a sulphuric acid plant.[2]

The company’s main operating subsidiaries are Hindustan Zinc Limited for its zinc and lead operations; Copper Mines of Tasmania Pty Limited for its copper operations in Australia; and Bharat Aluminium Company Limited for its aluminium operations. It also operates a copper mine in Australia.[3]

On 23 Feb 2001, Sterlite bought 51% stake in Bharat Aluminium Co. from the government of India by $118.5 million.[4] In September 2013, SESA Goa, Sterlite Industries and Vedanta Aluminium merged to form Sesa Sterlite Limited.[5]


The Thoothukudi Copper Smelting plant has been long-opposed[2] by the local residents for polluting their environment as well as causing a range of health problems and has been subject to several closures, on grounds of violating environmental norms.[6]

The National Environmental Research Institute (NEERI) and the TNPCB have found evidence that Sterlite contaminated the groundwater, air and soil with its effluents and also violated standards of operation.[2]

In 2010, the Madras High Court had ordered a shut down of the same plant, for violating environmental regulations which was subsequently challenged by the group in the Supreme Court.[7] The Supreme Court, in April, 2013 struck down the Madras high court’s order[2] and instead fined Sterlite Rs 100 crore for polluting the environment and for operating the plant without a renewal of the consents by TNPCB.[6] Post a favorable ruling by the National Green Tribunal, the plant soon reopened.[2]

In the meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on March, 2013 re-ordered a closure of the plant on grounds of leakage of gas, leading to nausea and skin irritation among local inhabitants.[7][8][9]

The group has steadfastly denied accusations of any wrongdoing, throughout.[8][6]

In March and April 2018, there were renewed mass-protests against the company's plans of setting up a second smelting complex and demands of an entire shutdown of the smelting plants, on grounds of violating environmental regulations were raised.[10][11] On 22 May 2018 the protests took a deadlier turn as 13 people were killed and several others injured, following a police shooting. Section 144 was imposed to control the situation.[12]

On 28 May 2018, the Government of Tamil Nadu ordered the permanent closure of Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi.[13] [14][15]


  1. ^ "Sterlite". Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e "As Sterlite Plant Expands, a City Erupts in Protest - The Wire". The Wire. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  3. ^ "Sterlite Industries India Ltd (SLT) Company Profile |". 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  4. ^ "Sterlite buys 51% BALCO stake". BBC News. 9 May 2001.
  5. ^ "Key Facts". Sesa Sterlite. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Sterlite protests". 6 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Vedanta's copper smelting plant ordered to stop operations". Deccan Herald. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  8. ^ a b "TN government orders closure of Sterlite copper smelter". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Vedanta group's copper plant ordered to be shut down | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. 2013-03-30. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  10. ^ "Protests against Sterlite in Tuticorin enter 50th day". Times of India. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  11. ^ "'Ban Sterlite': Thousands of protesters hit the streets demanding closure of copper plant in Thoothukudi". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  12. ^ "Anti-Sterlite protests LIVE UPDATES: Death toll in Tuticorin police firing touches eight, several injured; Sec 144 imposed". The Indian Express.
  13. ^ "Tamil Nadu government orders permanent closure of Sterlite plant in Tuticorin". The Economic Times. 28 May 2018.
  14. ^ "TN govt orders permanent closure of Vedanta group's Sterlite plant in Tuticorin - Times of India ►". The Times of India.
  15. ^ Varadhan, Sudarshan. "India closes Vedanta copper smelter permanently after bloody protest". U.S.