Heavy mineral mining (HMM) industry comprises of minerals such as Ilmenite, Zircon, Rutile, Garnet, Sillimanite and Leucoxene that are obtained from beach mineral sands. These deposits are found across the 7,500 kilometer wide Indian coastline that is shared by coastal states of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala. These minerals are primarily used in aircraft and paper industries.
India accounts for 35% of the world deposits of heavy minerals. However, its contribution to the global production is a meagre 4%. Moreover heavy mineral mining accounts for only 2% of the mining carried out in India. Beach mineral mining is an important area of HMM industry in India.
Tamil Nadu government has imposed a ban on beach mineral mining since August 2013, on five coastal districts, on concerns of illegal mining. This legislation has further subdued the already repressed HMM in India. The reason being, Tamil Nadu contributes 85% of India’s exports of 6.5 lakhs of garnet and occupies a significant space in beach mineral mining. Nearly 75% of the beach mineral mining in the state is carried out by VV Mineral, the country’s largest mining, manufacturer and exporter of garnet and ilmenite. Moreover, the ban has rendered nearly 50,000 people jobless and incurred a loss of Rs 100 billion a year to the industry.
Being a major player in this industry, VV Minerals opposes the ban on beach mineral mining. It claims that mineral mining in coastal areas is replenishable and if not undertaken, the minerals may be carried away by sea waves. As a consequence of it, Sri Lanka would reap the rich benefits of mineral deposits of Indian origin.
VV Mineral appeals to the state authorities for lifting the ban and allowing resumption of beach mineral mining. This would not only increase profitability of the industry by a few billion rupees but also promise employment to many. VV Minerals India will offer its wholehearted support for the same and make an investment of Rs 3 billion for capacity enhancement of its existing facility.
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