The peninsular region in India is abundantly rich in many natural resources. Having an extended coastline of about 6000 kilometers makes India a hub for many sea related natural resources. Heavy minerals are one such resource found on the surface of the sea, on the sea shores. The heavy mineral industry, although unexplored arena, is a very economically beneficial industry to our country.
The first person to recognize this abundance of heavy minerals in India was a German chemist Schomberg, who found heavy minerals in the state of Travancore which is now known as Tamil Nadu. Since he recognized these minerals to have higher economic benefit than other minerals, it attracted the British government’s attention towards this industry. In the beginning the mining was carried out just for the mineral, Monazite.
The British then realized that this industry generated good revenue from trade and hence seized operations of the German chemist and imprisoned him. By then they recognized other minerals in the sands which were of economic benefit. In the early 1920s minerals were transported across borders and by the 1940’s India began contributing to about 80% of world production of these minerals.
Hence, it can be state that India was leading the heavy mineral markets long before US, Canada, Australia and Africa. However, today India faces a lot of challenges in the heavy mineral market share.
One of the most renowned mining companies of India includes V.V. Mineral, which is based in Tamil Nadu established in 1989. V.V. Minerals engages in mining activity of minerals such as Zircon, Garnet, Ilmenite and Rutile. They are Indias largest mining manufacturer and exporters of Garnet.
Zircons are considered to be the longest-lasting minerals on earth. They are hard, chemically resistant, and contain elements that can be dated, therefore are used in geology a lot. The oldest object found yet is a 4.2 billion year old zircon grain. Zircons are the bases of dating many rocks worldwide.
Zircon sand typically consists of about 65% of Zirconia, 32 % of silica, around 1.15% of aluminium, 0.27 % of Titania. It is a group of minerals that belong to the nesosilicates class. The chemical name is zirconium silicate. The natural color of zircon varies between colorless, yellow-golden, red, brown, blue, and green.
They are found on the surface of the sand. They form placer deposits on the beach, which can be mined in a process known as heavy mineral mining. One of the leading private heavy mineral mining companies in India is VV Mineral.
VV Minerals, India is a family grown business started by Mr. S Vaikundarajan, Chairman of VV Group of companies. They manufacture and export heavy minerals such as Zircon, Garnet, Rutile and Ilmenite.
Commercially, zircons are mined for the metal zirconium which is used for abrasive and insulating purposes. It is the source of zirconium oxide, one of the most refractory materials known.
Titanium is widely used as a pigment in paint, in paper, and in plastics. Also, it is applicable as a highly heat resistant metal in aircraft construction. It is used to make aircraft parts, light bulb filaments and mountain climbing gear. It is also used in military applications, aircraft, spacecraft, medical devices, connecting rods on expensive sports cars and some premium.
Titanium is highly important mineral because it is strong and light at the same time. It is as strong as steel and twice as strong as aluminum, but is 45% lighter than steel. It does not corrode easily when in contact with sea water hence it is used in propeller shafts, rigging and other parts of boats that are exposed to sea water.
Titanium and its alloys are used in airplanes, missiles and rockets where strength, low weight and resistance to high temperatures are important. Since titanium does not react within the human body, it is used to create artificial hips, pins for setting bones and for other biological implants.
Ilmenite and Rutile are the most important sources of titanium and contribute to about 90% of Titanium production in a year. One of the premier companies that indulge in heavy mineral mining of Rutile and Ilmenite is V.V. Mineral. V.V Mineral is a family grown business started by Mr. S Vaikundarajan, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, VV Group. They undertake Zircon mining, Rutile mining and Ilmenite mining. They are based in the southern state Tamil Nadu in India. By industry standards they are the leaders in the heavy mineral mining industry.
Rutile is an interesting, varied and important mineral. Rutile is a major ore of titanium, a metal used for high tech alloys because of its light weight, high strength and resistance to corrosion. It can be generally described as Heavy mineral sand containing titanium. It looks like black or brown sand particles. Originally, Rutile was discovered in parts of Ukraine and Australia.
Rutile is mainly used for making of TiO2 pigment, Welding electrodes, Titanium metal, coloring agent in ceramic and glass products and as filler in paints.
Mostly the colour of Rutile ranges from black to reddish brown, and it’s found in the form of large thick crystals or golden yellow or rusty yellow as inclusions or in thin crystals. They have an adamantine to submetallic luster. The rutile crystals are transparent in rather thin crystals, otherwise opaque.
Crystal habits include eight sided prisms and blocky crystals terminated by a blunt four sided or complex pyramid. The prisms are composed of two four sided prisms with one of the prisms being dominant.
The specific gravity of Rutile sand is 4.2+ which is slightly heavy. It is a Titanium mineral and Titanium minerals are used in the production of titanium dioxide pigment. Pure white, highly refractive, ultra violet absorbing, non toxic and inert, titanium pigments are used in protective coatings, such as house and car paints, sunscreens, plastics, paper and textiles, as well as a growing number of foodstuffs and cosmetics.
Among the renowned heavy mineral mining companies in India is V.V. Mineral, based in Tamil Nadu. V.V. Minerals India deals with Garnet mining, Rutile Mining, Ilmenite mining and Zircon Mining.
Ilmenite is a heavy mineral that is found mostly in the beach sands of coastal regions of India such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Gulf of Mannar is particularly known for its ilmenite reserves and resources. Heavy minerals in India were discovered in the state of Travancore by a German chemist named Schomberg. One of the major manufacturer and exporter of Ilmenite is the Tamil Nadu, VV Mineral.
VV Minerals, India is the country’s first private company to export Ilmenite. We are India’s largest Garnet and ilmenite exporters. Our annual output of 2,25,000 metric tons of Ilmenite is unmatched till date.
Grading and sizing plays an important role in the usage of minerals, Proper separation and sieving plays a vital role. This mineral usually forms thick, tabular crystals; sometimes it forms rhombohedra crystals. Twinning is common. Other habits are lamellar, massive, compact, and granular. It is black or brownish black, with a black to brownish red streak. It is opaque. Ilmenite has a luster ranging from metallic to dull.
The grades of ilmenite are decided also according to their Iron content. Since ilmenite is an ore of titanium, the iron content plays a major role in the grading system of ilmenite.
Zircon Sand is a natural mineral and is mined in the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu. Zircon sand is widely used in industrial purposes. It can be found in its lunar rock form in the deep sea. Due to the continuous wave action it is washed out on the sea shores or river beds. Over a period of years these minerals settle on the surface of the beach in the form of placer minerals. After a series of separation processes such as gravity separation or magnetic separation the zircon minerals mixed in sand can be isolated and used in various industrial applications.
Zirconium is available primarily in two common grades – 702 and 705. Zirconium 702 is a commercially pure grade and has excellent corrosion protection with resistance to stress-corrosion cracking and crevice corrosion. This alloy is used for various types of chemical processing. Zirconium 705 is an alloyed grade with the addition of Niobium. While still offering excellent corrosion resistance, Zircon 705 offers higher strength capability.
Zircon with higher purity is used for the ceramic industry whereas lower purity finds its way to refractory industry such as making glass.
One of the leaders in the heavy mineral mining industry is V.V. Mineral. We manufacture heavy minerals such as Garnet, Zircon, Ilmenite and Rutile. They indulge in mining activities of Rutile, Ilmenite and Garnet as well.
Garnet can be identified in metamorphous rocks as a semiprecious gemstone. But, the garnet that is present in its sedimentary form in deep seas is washed off from the sea to the shores in form garnet sand, this kind of garnet is used as an abrasive.
In the abrasive form garnet is really useful in many industrial applications such as garnet water jet cutting and sand blasting. In such processes, the most important deciding factor about which kind of garnet should be used is its size.
Grading and sizing plays an important role in the usage of minerals. The sizes can be determined by proper separation and sieving processes. Sizing of garnet particle decides its usage. Bolder particles are used for sand blasting whereas material with smaller size will be used for water jet cutting.
In water filtration processes, garnet is used as the media in the channel of filtration. In this kind of mixed media water filtration, different grades of garnets are used. The coarse garnet sand it on the top, which filters major impurities and the next layer of garnet sand, is of fine grade so that any further impurities can be removed. This is why different grades are needed.
One of the leaders of heavy mineral mining of Garnet in India is V.V. Mineral. They are India’s biggest mining, manufacturers and exporters of Garnet and ilmenite. They have been awarded as the ‘Number One Garnet Exporters’ of our country. They also undertake Zircon mining, Rutile mining and Ilmenite mining.