Small And Medium Industries In South India Struggle For Copper Supplies After Sterlite Closure

The Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi. (LiveMint)

Shortage of copper supplies in South India has hit small and medium industries delivery schedules and thrown their cost calculations haywire after the closure of Sterlite copper unit in Thoothukudi. Copper Consumers’ Association of South India held a press conference where they claimed that 75 odd member units were affected by the closure, The Hindu has reported.

The Sterlite plant accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the country's copper production. Small and medium industries in South India were reportedly dependent on the plant for their raw material supplies.

Treasurer of the association, Hemanth Mehta told that imports of copper were not feasible. “Import of copper at such a short notice is not possible as most of the contracts are already done. The transit time is long and the overall cost of imports is much higher as compared to sourcing from within," the association said.

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Copper imports have pushed up costs by almost 10 per cent according the association and hold negative implications for the clients of these industries. The association employed about 15,000- 20,000 people and estimated a 30 per cent reduction in workforce if the situation persisted.

Quick resolution of the Sterlite deadlock from all angles is essential for the financial health of these small and medium industries, members of the association said, adding to the already growing number of parties that are asking for the plant to be reopened.

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