VV Minerals India, a beach sand mining company, was founded by S Vaikundarajan in the late 1980s. The company has operated under the leadership of VV Mineral Vaikundarajan and grown into one of the best sand mining companies in the sector.
VV Minerals India is known to extract garnet and ilmenite and export it to over 20 countries. The company recently released a statement that due to the lack of technology, it could not separate thorium from monazite. This was later confirmed by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
However, former principal scientist at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Kochi raised his concerns, “Indian Rare Earth Ltd (IREL), Manavalakurichi, uses the sand from the same area and produces thorium, so what happens to the monazite in the VV mines? Does the company follow the procedure recommended by the AERB?” Further allegations were added that the mining was operated without proper regulatory clearance.
Addressing these allegations head on, VV Minerals stated, “We have established a mineral separation plant and approached the AERB for a license, which is awaited.” He assured that the company has worked within legal boundaries since its inception and thwarted the allegations as a setup by IREL officials. He further stated that IREL has been illegally mining in VV Mineral’s land and indulged in questionable practices. “No authority is ready to take action based on our complaint. Hence we approached the High Court,” said VV Mineral Vaikundarajan.
The sand mining activities have been temporarily suspended for now. Following this, VV Minerals has filed two writ petitions that are pending with the Madras High Court.
V Subramanian, Director of VV Minerals spoke to Tribune India about heavy minerals market in India.
“The market size of heavy minerals is around 1.2 million tonne worldwide and 700000 tonne in India,” he informs. Though India has 40% of world’s total reserve, the production contribution as compared to world market is less than 5%.
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Viapar is a coastal village in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin district. The locals here are troubled by heavy beach erosion caused due to illegal beach mining across the region.
VV Minerals has been held responsible for this catastrophe as several unsupported allegations have surfaced. The accusations also included encroaching of 30 hectares of government land and other mining lease violations.
VV Minerals India, who founded the company in late 1980s, has been accused of using political connections to influence the transfer of district collector, Ashish Kumar, during his investigation stint.
VV Mineral has come out strongly and criticized the unsubstantial accusations. “These allegations made by the former district collector are baseless, motivated and vague,” he said to NDTV.
V Sundaram, former district collector, addressed a letter to the Chief Secretary of the state in January 2013 accusing VV Minerals of illegal mining worth over Rs 96,000 Crores. He further stated that the government departments had favored VV Minerals. “The mining lease was given to them within 72 days, while the other companies are still waiting for permission,” the letter stated.
VV Mineral Vaikundarajan has wrongfully indicted by these allegations and called the saga as a conspiracy by business rivals to malign the brand.
Ravindram Duraiswami, an advocate of the company quoted to NDTV, “Sundaram is passing this as a cruel joke. He is on the payroll of our business rival. Our hands are clear. We will come out clear from these allegations. Our records are straight.”