Vedanta Ltd on Thursday said it has commissioned an oxygen cylinder bottling plant at its copper smelter plant Sterlite Copper in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.

According to Vedanta, the Rs 11 crore plant has a capacity to bottle 400 medical grade oxygen cylinders per day.

“While our technology was so far focused on producing liquid oxygen, overseas technology providers have helped us implement processes to capture gaseous oxygen as well, which was so far being vented out as a byproduct,” Vedanta said.

Sterlite Copper has 1,050 ton per day (tpd) oxygen production capacity of which 200 tpd will be liquid oxygen and the balance is in gaseous form.

The company had earlier said it has an infrastructure to transport 200-250 tpd medical oxygen to various hospitals.

To utilise the balance capacity of the unit for the medical usage, Vedanta earlier said it was looking for business partners to study and provide a solution to transport 800 tpd oxygen which is available in gaseous form at 4.5 bar pressure to various hospitals in the state.

Vedanta had started oxygen production at Sterlite Copper recently to supply to hospitals to meet the needs due to the spread of Covid-19 pandemic across the country.

The Tamil Nadu government had ordered the closure of the copper smelter plant in 2018 following a violent protest that led to the death of 13 persons in police firing.

The Supreme Court had allowed the company to operate its oxygen plant recently.

The 400,000 tonne Sterlite copper smelter plant has been operating in Thoothukudi for over 25 years with a cumulative investment of about Rs 3,000 crore but was closed after the violence and opposition by locals.