For the local of Periyasamypuram in Tuticorin district, outrage has become a common way of living. Ever since the rumours of illegal sand beach mining, the locals have started taking the law in their own hands. Recently, some of the locals held hostage a sand mining truck of VV Mineral and battered the driver before letting him go. The police inspector of Surangudi failed to control the situation.
VV Minerals India is one of the largest sand mining companies in India. Naturally, to find itself in the midst of this controversy should not come as a surprise to anyone. However, there is no evidence to prove an illegal action on behalf of the company. VV Minerals, stated that the locals are being fed wrong information to turn them against the company.
The company is accused of illegally amassing INR 1 Lakh Crore through beach sand mining. However, it should be noted that it is practically impossible for one company to pull off a scam of such extent. Having been in existence for over two decades, these allegations surfacing now make no sense.
The company authorities also mentioned that VV Mineral Mining is legally authorised to manufacture and export Garnet with 1% Monazite content. This is due to the lack in technology for the separation of Monazite. Despite being confirmed by official bodies, the company continues to receive allegations of illegal exports.
VV Mineral, Vaikundarajan assured that in the last two decades, the company has never gone beyond the 1% threshold for monazite and has always acted within legal boundaries.
S Vaikundarajan founded VV Minerals India in the late 1980s. The company has grown over the two decades to become the biggest player in beach sand mining industry in India. It has won several national awards for its contribution to the export business. Today VV Minerals India is the largest producer and exporter of garnet and ilmenite in the country. The company is known to export minerals to over 20 countries.
Much like any other industry, the mining industry too faces its set of challenges. One of those challenges in the lack of technology to separate thorium from monazite. VV Minerals has openly expressed concerns over this challenge and is confirmed by the government body of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
Despite this confirmation, 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?”
In the wake of recent allegations of beach sand mining, VV Minerals, the largest player in India, has become an obvious victim. Without any evidence, accusations are being hurled at the company, taking apart its reputation piece by piece.
This scam has forced the state government to setup an investigating team and suspend all mining activities till a conclusion is reached. Private companies in mining industry will have to face a huge loss due to the ban.
VV Mineral Vaikundarajan came out in support of the investigation team and stated that the company had done no wrong. “VV Minerals has operated within legal boundaries for over 2 decades. We have established a mineral separation plant and approached the AERB for a license, which is awaited. The allegation by IREL officials is a setup to maim the company’s reputation. No authority is ready to take action based on our complaint. Hence we approached the High Court,” said VV Mineal Vaikundarajan. He further stated that IREL has been illegally mining on VV Mineral’s land and no action has been taken against the company.
VV Minerals has filed two writ petitions that are pending with the Madras High Court following the temporary ban on sand mining activities.