The company engages primarily in the mining of copper in Tuticorin, India and production of copper products.The plant also includes a refinery, a phosphoric acid plant and a sulphuric acid plant. The company also engages in the mining of bauxite, zinc ore and the production of various aluminum products as well as the manufacture of zinc ingots and lead ingots.
The company’s main operating subsidiaries are Hindustan Zinc Limited for its zinc and lead operations; Copper Mines of Tasmania Pty Limited for its copper operations in Australia; and Bharat Aluminium Company Limited for its aluminium operations.It also operates a copper mine in Australia.
On 23 Feb 2001, Sterlite bought 51% stake in Bharat Aluminium Co. from the government of India by $118.5 million.In September 2013, SESA Goa, Sterlite Industries and Vedanta Aluminium merged to form Sesa Sterlite Limited.
The Tuticorin Copper Smelting plant has been long-opposed by the local residents for polluting their environment as well as causing a range of health problems and has been subject to several closures, on grounds of violating environmental norms.
The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and the TNPCB have found evidence that Sterlite contaminated the groundwater, air and soil with its effluents and also violated standards of operation.
In 2010, the Madras High Court had ordered a shut down of the same plant, for violating environmental regulations which was subsequently challenged by the group in the Supreme Court.The Supreme Court, in April, 2013 struck down the Madras high court’s order and instead fined Sterlite Rs 100 crore for polluting the environment and for operating the plant without a renewal of the consents by TNPCB.Post a favorable ruling by the National Green Tribunal, the plant soon reopened.
In the meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on March, 2013 re-ordered a closure of the Tuticorin copper smelting plant on grounds of leakage of gas, leading to nausea and skin irritation among local inhabitants.