The National Green Tribunal on Thursday allowed mining firm Vedanta to access the administrative unit of its Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, PTI reported. However, the tribunal asked the district authorities to ensure that the company does not access the plant’s production unit.

The mining corporation moved the tribunal, challenging the state government’s order to close the plant after protests against it left 13 people dead in May. On July 5, the tribunal issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government and the state’s pollution control board on Vedanta’s plea.

On Thursday, the green tribunal asked the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board to submit data on pollution around the plant within 10 days. It will hear the matter next on August 20.

Vedanta has called the closure order and the pollution control board’s refusal to renew its operating licence “impugned and unlawful”. Last month, it asked the green court to issue an interim stay so that the plant can continue operations pending appeal. However, on July 30,
the tribunal refused to grant it interim relief.