Vedanta Ltd’s Copper Smelter
Vedanta Ltd said on Wednesday a sulphuric acid leak from a tank at its copper smelter in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin was severe and inaction could lead to serious environmental consequences.
The district administration had said on Sunday the leak was minor, and steps were being taken to empty the storage tanks as a safety precaution.
“There is a severe leakage in the pipe flanges and the pipe flanges are submerged in the acid pool collected in the dykes around the acid storage tank”, said the company in an petition to the Madras high court.
Vedanta, the Indian subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources, said it sought a limited re connection of the electricity supply for maintenance to guard against a potential loss of life and damage to air and ground water.
“There is a grave risk and danger as there are other tanks and there are flammable chemicals and materials within the plant area,” it said
However, the district’s top administrative official Sandeep Nanduri stuck to the earlier view that the leak was minor.
The Tamil Nadu state government ordered a permanent closure of the plant and disconnected the power supply last month following protests that turned violent and culminated in the police opening fire on protesters, killing 13 of them.
The protesters demanded a permanent shutdown of the plant, which they said was causing air and water pollution. Locals and activists see the smelter as a risk to fisheries. Vedanta says the protests are based on false notions.
Vedanta also said it was unable to meet government officials because of the tense situation prevailing after the protests.
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