The Sterlite Copper Plant in Thoothukudi commissioned an oxygen cylinder bottling plant at an investment outlay of ₹11 crore on Thursday.
According to a press release, the new facility can produce 400 medical-grade oxygen cylinders per day. A senior official at the site said that with the support of overseas technology providers, they were able to implement the processes at a quick pace to capture gaseous oxygen as well.
A supreme Court directive Sterlite had been given permission only to produce oxygen from its plant after the company gave an undertaking to produce and distribute it free of cost from its Thoothukudi facility.
On May 12, the plant started operating, but the following day, , dug to a technical snag ,the production had to be suspended for a week. Since May 19, the company had been producing oxygen and supplying it to many southern district government hospitals. The second plant too has also started generating oxygen. About 500 MT had been distributed so far, the official added.
Sterlite copper to open its copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi to produce oxygen for a four-month period amid surging covid 19 cases. The latest move paves way for the partial reopening of the controversial copper smelter that was closed in 2018 by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board over pollution concerns.
Responding to the state government’s resolution, Vedanta in a statement said that it was committed to making the entire production capacity of 1,000 tonnes available for the purpose of producing medical grade oxygen and that it was working to dispatch it to critical areas in Tamil Nadu on priority and subsequently across the country
The copper smelter plant was long-opposed by the local residents for polluting their environment as well as causing a range of health problems in the area. It has the capacity to produce 400,000 tonnes of copper cathode a year. In March-April 2018, there were several mass protests against the company’s plans of a proposed expansion.
The protesters allege that the pollution generated by the unit contaminated the water bodies in the region, and claimed that they were facing severe health problems. Environmental activists also expressed concern since copper smelting leads to various kinds of pollution and they must be located far away from the residential areas.
And the important Of copper Copper is a ductile metal and commonly found in nature. It is a pure metal, which is well known for its electrical conductivity. Due to its ductile nature, it is mostly used in construction and plumbing industries throughout the world. Metallic copper can be easily molded or shaped, with the reddish color it is found in mixtures of metals such as brass and bronze.
In the solution This process can be applied not just for Sterlite plant, but also to all copper smelters across the country. However, such environmental projects can be relatively costly and many companies could hesitate. So government can help them with form of subsidies in terms of equipment import. Older plants have a history of polluting the surrounding area, where metal dust may have spread toxic pollutants over wide areas and several years of acid releases can result in greater environmental damage.
By : G Gnana Priya dharshini