Vedanta Resources was one of the worst performers in London on Wednesday after at least nine people were killed outside one of its Indian copper smelters.

Shares in the FTSE 250 company were down 5.4 per cent at 797p as investors took fright at the news.

Demonstrations outside the 400,000-tonne-a-year plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu have been going on for months but took a deadly turn overnight when police fired on protesters who want the smelter, which they claim is a major source of pollution, closed while Vedanta is trying to push through a plan to double capacity to 800,000 tonnes a year.

Vedanta, which is controlled by Indian metals tycoon Anil Agarwal, said on Wednesday that it had been told by the Madras High Court to halt work on the expansion project pending a public hearing.

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