Sterlite Copper (A Unit of Vedanta Limited)

The Sterlite Copper Business of Vedanta Limited is a central element of the group's Copper Business. Over the last twenty years, Sterlite Copper has steadily grown into one of the leading producers of refined copper in India, accounting for up to 36% of the country's demand for refined copper.

The company currently operates a Copper Smelter capable of producing 400,000 Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) with related facilities, which include refinery and copper rod plant, sulphuric acid factory producing 12,00,000 MTPA and phosphoric acid factory producing 220,000 MTPA at Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. Besides operating a coal power plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, Sterlite Copper is also involved in oil and gas exploration.

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Sterlite In Media

  • The operational stacks of Sterlite Copper are equipped with interlocks and online analysers which is connected in real time to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board(TNPCB) and Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB). The emission levels are within the compliance norms.

Water Quality Management

  • No ground water consumption
  • 60-70% of the water consumption is met through desalinated water
  • Air cooler installation to conserve raw water

Solid Waste Management

  • Copper slag generated from the operations is used in sustainable globally acclaimed applications like cement, road, pavers and bricks manufacturing, ready mix concrete, abrasives and landfilling Material.
  • Gypsum generated from the phosphoric acid plant is used in the cement, fertilizers and bricks manufacturing.
  • Sterlite Copper has developed 43 Ha. of green belt which is enriched with the presence of wide biodiversity.
  • Furthermore, Pasumai Thoothukudi, a flagship initiative has also been launched and is in progress to plant 10 lakh trees with the aim to make Thoothukudi a green city.

Facts About Sterlite Know More

Sterlite Copper adopts world’s best available and recent technology for production of copper and for the improvement of environmental and safety performance. Since the closure of the plant, few incorrect statements and beliefs were circulating about Sterlite Copper. Following are the facts:


Fact About Cancer
  • Cancer is caused by carcinogens and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified Sulphur Dioxide as a non-carcinogen.
  • Thus, it is also incorrect to state that copper operations have led to extreme incidences of cancer in Thoothukudi.
Fact About Sulphur Dioxide
  • Sterlite Copper Plant captures sulphur dioxide and converts it into sulphuric acid through Double Contact Double Absorption (DCDA) Technology , which is world renowned.
  • There is also no discernible change in SO2 levels before and after plant closure. Thus, the statement that copper production causes pollution through sulphur dioxide emissions is incorrect.
Fact About Rainfall
  • Sterlite Copper’s Operation do not affect the weather in any way.
  • In fact the data from the National Meteorological Department, Chennai, does not demonstrate any connection between Sterlite Copper’s operations and the rainfall pattern in Thoothukudi.
  • In addition, Thoothukudi’s geographical location lies in a rain-shadow region within Tamil Nadu, and hence, it witnesses comparably lesser rainfall compared to other regions.

Community Initiatives - Muthucharam CSR

Sterlite Copper partners with all stakeholders who share our vision of an aspirational, empowered society working together for the common good of all. Our keystone development initiative Muthucharam, put together in consultation with community members, is well underway. In the coming years, these projects, including a Smart School and a well-equipped Hospital, will deliver considerable benefit to the people of Thoothukudi. Some of our recent initiatives include:

Pasumai Thoothukudi
Pasumai Thoothukudi
  • Aim to plant 1 million trees across Thoothukudi, to make it one of the greenest cities and to bring about a rapid positive environment change. So far 1 lakh trees saplings have been planted.
  • A total of 16 villages have been covered under this initiative by providing tree saplings and sapling-shelters to villagers.
  • The saplings will be taken care of for a period of 2 years until they can grow unsupervised on their own.
Tamira Surabhi
Tamira Surabhi
  • Access to clean drinking water is an inalienable right of every human being and under this project clean drinking water is supplied to the people of Thoothukudi.
  • A total of more than 2,300 families from 22 villages have benefitted from this project until today.
  • 36 liters of clean drinking water is distributed on alternate days to each family residing in the villages.
Tamira Vidhyalaya
Tamira Vidhyalaya
  • Sterlite Copper has also launched a new scholarship initiative, 'Sterlite Education Scheme for Students' and so far 10,000+ students have benefitted.
  • Under this project smart schools were built with the aim to provide quality education for the children in the core villages.
  • The students have been given scholarships and are encouraged to pursue their education. A total of 20,000 families will benefit through this initiative.
Sakhi - Women Resource Center
Sakhi - Women Resource Center
  • The objective of this initiative is to empower women through entrepreneurship and skill training.
  • A total of 5000 women are set to benefit from the initiative through various entrepreneurial development programs like Training sessions on Bag stitching, Mushroom & Bee Cultivation and Sanitary Napkin Production.
  • Sanitary Napkin Production Unit Launched with a daily capacity of 3150 napkins.
  • After the successful completion of Phase 1 training a total of 49 women have been engaged in income generation projects.
Tamira Muthukkal – Youth Resource Center
Tamira Muthukkal – Youth Resource Center
  • Conceptualized and instituted to provide assistance to the youth of Thoothukudi.
  • The objective is to equip the youth of Thoothukudi with skills that will guarantee employment by providing the right training focusing on the 5 trades namely sewing machine operator, welding, general electrics, logistics and food processing.
  • All of the aforementioned trades have been identified as priority areas via the Skill Gap Assessment Report of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
  • Each course involves 300-400 hours of training, aiming to provide training to 600 youths, which will later be increased to 1500.
Tamira Hospital
Tamira Hospital
  • Aiming at providing state of the art healthcare facilities to the residents of Thoothukudi.
  • Amidst the pandemic, Sterlite Copper extended its support to the people of nearby villages, covering 12000 families by supplying ration kits, masks, sanitizers etc.
  • Under the healthcare initiative free health consultation and medicines were provided to the residents of 21 core villages.

The year 2017-18 was the last year when the copper smelter at Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu was operational. In the year 2017-18 India earned a net foreign exchange inflow of US $ 1.1 billion on account of export of copper.

However, after the shutdown of smelter operations, India now incurs a net foreign exchange outflow of US $ 1.2 billion due to imports of copper. India has become an importer of refined copper for the first time in this millennium after 2000-01.

Source: ministryofcommerce

The plant provided direct employment to 4000 people and more than 70% of these employees are from Tamil Nadu. Further, the plant operations impacts more than 20,000 people engaged in various supplier and customer units.

The plant engages about 1000 trucks/tankers on daily basis with consistent load, thereby providing livelihood to around 9,000 truck drivers and cleaners per month. We have over 650 supply and service partners and we help them generate a business of close to $134 million every year.

The capital expenditure of INR 699 crores allocated by Sterlite Copper for the purpose of expanding the installed capacity has been sunk.

In the year following the shutdown, operating income reduced 15.44% in 2018-19 to INR 520 crores in comparison operating income in 2017-18:

The operating income of other major ports in Tamil Nadu has increased from 2017-18 levels. The operating income at Kamarajar port has increased 11.41% from 2017-18 levels to INR 703 crores and the operating income at Chennai port has also increased 3.04% from 2017-18 levels to INR 788 crore.

The Power Consumption (HT) has reduced from 617.76 million units in 2017-18 to 265.87 million units in 2019-20, around 57% drop as per CIRCA.

Source: VOPortAnnualReport & DistrictStatisticalHandbook

The FDI inflow into Tamil Nadu decreased 31.6% from 2017-18 levels to US $ 2.38 billion in 2020-21.

The inflow into Maharashtra increased by 22% and around 942% increase in Gujarat from 2017-18 levels.

The total number of dependent domestic companies for supply of raw material from Sterlite Copper was 381 and contributed approximately $295 million to the exchequer.


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Oxygen To Nation

  • 1500 tonnes of oxygen was produced and distributed to hospitals across the state by the month of June 2021.
  • Supply of Oxygen to multiple health centres in 32 districts in Tamil Nadu. Reactivated 1000MT oxygen plant on war footing to help save lives.
  • Comissioned new cylinder bottling unit to capture gaseous oxygen. The purity of oxygen improved from 96% to 99% to ensure total hygiene.
  • A total of 142 oxygen beds were provided to the Thoothukudi, Kayalpatinam and Thiruchendur Government Hospitals.

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COVID-19 Support

As COVID-19 pandemic shook the world making daily life a fight for survival, Sterlite Copper and its employees intensified efforts to support the people of Thoothukudi.


Sterlite Copper donated INR 5 crores to Tamil Nadu’s CM’s Public Relief Fund.


Sterlite Copper donated INR 5 crores to Tamil Nadu’s CM’s Public Relief Fund.