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Indian court thumbs down Vedanta's request to reopen Tuticorin copper smelter

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Indian court thumbs down Vedanta's request to reopen Tuticorin copper smelter

An environmental court in India rejected Vedanta Ltd.'s bid to allow for the temporary reopening of its Tuticorin copper smelter in India's Tamil Nadu state, Reuters reported July 5.

The Vedanta Resources PLC unit also sought for a permanent injunction against the Tamil Nadu state governemt from interfering with the operations of its smelter.

A recent sulfuric acid leak from a tank at the shuttered Tuticorin smelter was said to be severe. Vedanta requested in a court petition for a limited reconnection of the electricity supply to the site for maintenance to prevent potential loss of life and environmental damage.

The district administration said the leak at the plant was minor, and steps were being taken to empty the storage tanks.

In late May, the state government order for the permanent closure of the facility following violent protests last week that killed 13 people. State environmental authorities also cut power to the site, claiming the smelter was found preparing to restart production without approvals.

Vedanta was aiming to double the smelter's current capacity of 400,000 tonnes per year.

Operations at the plant were suspended in March for 15 days of planned maintenance activity. The shutdown was later extended after the company's application to renew the plant's operating permit was rejected.