The acquisition of Transworld Granite India Pvt. Ltd. has allowed VV Minerals to join the league of beach sand mining in India. The owner of the company, Mr. S. Vaikundarajan also deals with business in other sectors like paint pigments, agro and others.
VV Minerals is by far the only company to get leased shore land for a period of 40 years from the Government of Tamil Nadu. It is primarily based in Chennai, and its headquarters is at Tisayanvilai. This area is a highly valuable region for acquisition of a lot of heavy minerals such as Garnet, Ilmenite, Rutile, and Zircon. It covers hundreds of acres of sea shore in the Gulf of Mannar.
The company has 5 wet plants near the mining areas that are used to process the mined sand. There are mechanized facilities as well as manual loading that are used for garnet mining and other kind of mining such as ilmenite mining, Rutile mining, and Zircon mining. In addition to that, V.V. Mineral has 6 dry plants that are also situated in the close to the mining sites.
A chartered accountant by profession, Mrs. Chitra Raguram is the head of the finance department of VV group of companies owned by Mr. S. Vaikundarajan for the last three years. I had the opportunity to interact with her some days ago while I was in Tamil Nadu at the VV Minerals premises. Being a woman she is proud that VV Minerals is one of those companies that aren’t gender biased.
She feels, “Most women retire from work just after giving birth to kids. The main reason for this premature retirement can be attributed to the family demands or the lack of support as most of the men at home hesitate to share the burden of women. The major question before every working woman is who will take care of my kids’?”
According to her VV Minerals is the best company for her in Tamil Nadu as a woman because they have a fully equipped crèche that takes care of her kids. Even school going kids who arrive before the office shuts down have facilities to stay there till their mothers are free after work.
She explains with deep gratitude, “Success in business is not only making money, it is much more than that and I have experienced this after seeing the generosity of the promoters of VV Mineral”.
The owner of the company is Mr. S. Vaikundarajan who is said to have revolutionized the heavy mineral mining industry in Tamil Nadu as well as the entire country in the last ten years.
We had the opportunity to meet the technical manager of VV Minerals, India. He is one of the oldest employees at the company, with 23 years of experience in heavy mineral mining. The time he joined the organization, it was quite small and had less than 100 employees. He has been a witness to the dramatic change in the number of employees and the development of this sector in India. He proudly states, “Now I am the technical manager and not less than 1500 employees are working under me.”
He is one of those employees who has seen the company grow to great heights and then crumble because of the false allegations made on the company for illegal mining. “I used to liaise with more than 1000 vendors, who supply various materials required by VVM and I have noticed a pale of gloom surrounding their faces too due to the current scenario”, he says.
The heavy mineral mining industry is at a standstill in Tamil Nadu and this is affecting about 50,000 people directly or indirectly. The greatest hit is at VV Mineral, a private heavy mineral mining company owned by Mr. S. Vaikundarajan who was at the leading position in the entire nation until they were framed for illegal beach mining. Although the allegations are proven false, the government is still not given a word on uplifting the ban.
The Managing Director of VV Mineral, V Subramanian gave an insightful interview on DD News on June 3, 2014 about the various shortcomings in the industry because of mining ban and export duties, imposed by the State Government in Tamil Nadu. He stated that because of this ban there has been grave revenue loss to the industry as well as the country. Explaining about the importance of mining to our country, Mr. V. Subramanian said that the country loses forex amounting to Rs. 10,000 Crore due to an industry shut down since August 2013. He also mentioned how the 10% export duty on heavy mineral mining is affecting the income levels of the manufacturers in India, which allows other countries who have lower export duties to flourish more.
To find out more please watch the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc_oxqCvdsg&feature=youtu.be
Speculations of VV Mineral illegally mining Thorium have been existent for several years now. Thorium being a radioactive in nature makes it more valuable and dangerous mineral, for which the government does give permissions to private companies like VV Minerals, India.
The area that VV Minerals conducts mining is rich with thorium contents. But the company does not have machinery which is advanced enough to separate thorium. Their separation plants are only equivalent to separating garnet, zircon and titanium ores like rutile and ilmenite.
According to the AERB, if a private company is mining on nuclear sand which contains less than 5% thorium in the form of tailings, it has to be disposed by mixing silica particles in them. And that’s what the company does.
If the content is higher than 5%, the nuclear sand has to be stored in a secure area with silica particles over it, for a particular duration till the time it comes back to a lower level, so as to not harm anyone.
The processes are simple and transparent. It is highly unlikely that such a thing as thorium scam is possible in such a strict and regulated industry. VV Minerals has been active in this industry for two decades now. The owner Mr. S. Vaikundarajan has been under speculations for a lot of times. Nevertheless, he has been given a green card by the central government.
The other eminent members of the management in VV Minerals also include, Mr. J Muthurajan, Mr. V. Subramanian, and Mr. Jegatheesan.
The following video talks about the Business Standard news story which was published on June 3, 2014, stating that the leading industry player, VV Minerals feels that the ban on mining activities has led to the unemployment of 50,000 people in Tamil Nadu. It also provided information about their mining activities in India. They are the largest Ilmenite manufacturers and exporters in India. They are the first private ilmenite exporters of India. VV Minerals India has a huge market share in Europe, Middle East, East Asia, Australia and USA. They are based in Tamil Nadu and the company is owned by Mr. S Vaikundarajan. Mr. V Subramanian the Managing Director of VV Minerals, also spoke about a few challenges the industry currently faces.