The mining industry contributes remarkably to the Economy of India. The sand mining industry is one of the key contributors in the mining sector. Sand mining is a process to extract sand and other rare earth minerals from the open pits. These rare earth minerals generally consist of elements like ilmenite, rutile, garnet, zircon, sillimanite, leucoxene and monazite. These seven elements are extensively used in various day to day consumer products, as well as high tech applications.
Due to various conservative policies of government, the potential of private players in this industry is hindered. Beach sand-mining is different in many aspects. It is an important industry whose development is essential not just for India’s economic health but also strategic benefit. Until 1998, rare earth minerals were completely controlled by the government.
Globally, the rare earth mineral market is dominated by China with 97% of the export and India is the second largest exporter. Prices have increased, due to Beijing’s latest restrictions on rare earth minerals export. Countries like United States, France and Japan have being showing interest in the development of Indian rare earth mineral deposits.
In India, one of the largest producer and exporter of rare earth minerals like ilmenite is V. V. Mineral. The Managing Director and CEO of V. V. Mineral, S. Vaikundarajan said, “Though India is home to 35% of global rare earth minerals and 71% of world’s monazite reserve, China dominates the rare earth supply of the world. With a slight change in the policies, India can be the world top player of rare earth minerals.” Further he added, “Keeping in mind the current demand of beach minerals owing to rapid innovation, the Make in India objective of the government won’t be so difficult to achieve.”
Beach Sand Mining sector can turn out to be a triumphant Make In India programme, if appropriate acknowledgment and encouragement is given by the central and state governments.
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.
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.
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.