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7 Jan 2019

India: Sterlite's copper plant to reopen despite opposition by government, protestors

In May 2018, 13 people were killed in a police firing during protests against Sterlite Industries Ltd.’s copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. Sterlite is a subsidiary of U.K.-based Vedanta Resources. The protestors were marching against planned expansions of the plant, raising significant human rights and environmental concerns relating to Sterlite’s operations. 

Prior to the killings, Indian officials had ordered the closure of the plant due to concerns about environmental protection and protests. This order was overturned by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in November 2018. In January 2019, the government of Tamil Nadu requested that the Supreme Court halt the NGT’s order for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court denied the government's request, paving the way for the reopening of the plant. 

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