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Vedanta has said that its advertisement on June 20 seeking buyers for Sterlite plant is part of options it is exploring to serve the country and the people of Tamil Nadu. “The Tuticorin plant is a national asset which has been catering to 40% of our national demand of copper and has played an integral role towards India’s self-sufficiency in copper,” a statement said.

The statement further said: “Sterlite Copper represents a key aspect of Vedanta’s Copper Business. Since its inception in 1996, Sterlite Copper has steadily grown to become one of the leading contributors to copper production in India, it was contributing up to 40% of India’s demand for refined copper. It operated a 400,000 Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) Copper Smelter at Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu.”

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Once again, in its statement, Vedanta has stressed that it seeks to be a leader in the Environment, Safety and Governance area in the natural resources sector. Sterlite’s operational record had led to serious questions on these aspects: Pollution, safety fears, as well as relationship with the community.

“Since its inception in 1996, Sterlite Copper has steadily grown to become one of the leading contributors to copper production in India”

Vedanta’s detailed statement lists various programmes in ESG. The statement says: “The company’s flagship social impact program, Nand Ghars, have been set up as model anganwadis focused on eradicating child malnutrition, providing education, healthcare, and empowering women with skill development. Under the aegis of the Anil Agarwal Foundation, the umbrella entity for Vedanta’s social initiatives, the Vedanta group has pledged Rs 5000 crore over the next five years on social impact programmes with a thrust on nutrition, women & child development, healthcare, animal welfare, and grass-root level sports.”

The Supreme Court is set to decide on the reopening of the copper smelter. The court had earlier allowed the functioning of the oxygen production section in the smelter to help cope with Covid needs. The court had set up a monitoring committee consisting of independent experts, district officials as well as environmentalists to ensure the plant operated only to produce oxygen.

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