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Minor leakage at Vedanta’s south Indian copper smelter, says official

Police opened fire on a crowd of protesters on May 22 calling for the shutdown on the grounds of pollution.

A minor leak has been detected in the sulphuric acid storage plant in Vedanta’s south Indian copper smelter, a government official said on Sunday, about a month after the state ordered its shutdown after protests in which 13 people died.

Police opened fire on a crowd of protesters on May 22 calling for the shutdown on the grounds of pollution. The Tamil Nadu state government then ordered a permanent shutdown.

“A leakage was observed in the sulphuric acid storage plant. It doesn’t look problematic, but we have decided to evacuate the storage tomorrow as a safety precaution,” Sandeep Nanduri, the district’s top administrative official, said on Sunday.

Vedanta Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of Vedanta Resources PLC which operates the smelter, did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. The smelter accounted for over a third of India’s refined copper output, and India is set to see a rise in copper imports following the shutdown. Sulphuric acid, a corrosive byproduct of smelting, is used by fertilizer and chemical companies as a raw material.

Process of removing chemical leakage at Sterlite plant begins

The process of removing leakage in the sulfuric acid warehouse at the Sterlite Copper Smelter plant storage unit in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi has begun.

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Thoothukudi District Collector Sandeep Nanduri on Monday informed the media that all the necessary security protocols are being followed to ensure safety of the locals.

“The process of removing leakage in the sulfuric acid warehouse at the Sterlite plant has begun. All necessary security protocols are being followed,” Nanduri said.

Last month, the people of Thoothukudi protested against Sterlite industries, demanding a ban on the plant alleging that it was polluting groundwater, and was hazardous for the environment.

The protests took a violent turn on May 22 when police opened fire on the protesters, which killed 13 people and left at least 102 injured.

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