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Indian environment court rules in favor of Vedanta for Tuticorin restart

A court in India set aside a state government order to close Vedanta Ltd.'s Tuticorin copper smelter in Tamil Nadu, Reuters reported Dec. 15, confirming a previous report.

However, the plant is not expected to reopen in the near-term with state government appeals expected on the horizon.

India's Tamil Nadu state ordered the permanent closure of the smelter following violent protests that killed 13 people earlier this year.

The environmental court ordered the Indian state pollution watchdog to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent for Tuticorin within three weeks. It also required Vedanta to spend 1 billion Indian rupees within three years to improve the welfare of people living nearby.

Tamil Nadu's Environment Minister K.C. Karuppannan told a news conference that the government will continue to oppose the plant's restart.

Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit said it will now seek to to restart operations.

As of Dec. 14, US$1 was equivalent to 71.93 Indian rupees.