NEW DELHI May 31 India's largest copper smelter
can restart within a week, after a court gave a conditional
go-ahead, ending a two-month-long shutdown that has squeezed
local supply and boosted imports.
The Sterlite Industries plant, which meets half of
India's copper demand, was closed on March 30 after residents
complained of emissions that led to breathing problems.
Sterlite can resume operations within a week in the presence
of a court-appointed committee, said Justice Swatanter Kumar of
the National Green Tribunal, a special fast-track environmental
court, in an interim order.
Kumar said a final order on the case would be issued after
The smelter's closure tightened supply of refined copper,
driving up prices for Indian consumers. With the smelter out of
action, other smelters in Asia were able to hike processing fees
for copper concentrates, the raw material they refine.
The plant, which produces 30,000 tonnes of refined copper a
month and sends nearly half of that to China, will take about
five days to ramp up to full capacity, company executives said.
"Certain conditions have to be met and it can restart,"
Justice Kumar said.