Sterlite plant closure: ‘ancillary sectors hit’

The closure of Sterlite’s Tuticorin copper smelter plant has had very detrimental effects on the ancillary industries such as wire manufacturers and fertiliser plants, dependent on supply from the plant, the Indian Non-Ferrous Metal Manufacturers’ Association (INFMMA) on Friday wrote in a letter to the Ministry of Mines and Niti Aayog. With the Sterlite plant accounting for 48% of the copper supplied in the country, such sectors have turned to imported copper, which has raised their costs dramatically, they said.

“The closure of Vedanta’s copper smelter plant is slated to have a significant impact on the domestic copper market in the medium and long run because this threatens to stall almost half of the country’s copper output since Vedanta had a 48% share of the 842,961 tonnes of the metal produced in India in 2017-18,” INFMMA’s letter to the Mines Ministry and Niti Aayog, accessed by
The Hindu
, said.

“The copper fabricating industry purchases base metals like copper cathode or scrap and only changes its form and shape,” the letter added. “the industry is dependent to meet its demand of raw material i.e. copper cathode either by domestic sources, i.e. from Vedanta and Hindalco, or by import that suffers 5% customs duty.”

Representatives of INFMMA, in a press conference, said that at least 20,000 people working in the ancillary and allied sectors are unemployed due to the closure of the Tuticorin plant.

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