India court to resume Sterlite copper smelter case on May 16

NEW DELHI Tue May 14, 2013 6:42am EDT

NEW DELHI May 14 (Reuters) - India's largest copper smelter will remain shut until at least May 16 after a New Delhi court said it would resume a hearing then, extending a near seven-week closure at the facility which meets half of India's demand for the metal.

Justice Swatanter Kumar of the National Green Tribunal, a fast-track environmental court, said on Tuesday the court would continue with arguments in the case on Thursday.

The Sterlite Industries plant was shut on March 30 after residents complained of emissions that led to breathing problems. The case was transferred to New Delhi from a southern India branch of the court on April 29.

The smelter's closure tightened supply of refined copper, driving up the price for Indian consumers. With the smelter out of action, other smelters in the region were able to raise their processing fees for copper concentrates, the raw material they refine.

The plant produces 30,000 tonnes of refined copper a month and nearly half of the output goes to China.

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