Indian Mineral Sand Policy

Our association send one letter to PM Office regarding Indian Mineral policy. This is for our members information.


Date : 25-02-19




Additional Principal Secretary,

Office of the Honourable Prime Minister,

South Block,

New Delhi – 100 011


Indian mineral sands policy


The most recent changes to the Indian mineral sands policy, by regulatory change and with no consultation with the industry or the wider community, has taken India back to October 1998 and ensures that the country will miss out on the upcoming electric car revolution and further developments in many industries including aerospace, aeronautical and defence.

To put this into perspective India’s policy changes to restrict handling of monazite to state owned enterprises by imposing a limit of 0% monazite in all minerals, effectively re-nationalises the industry. This in turn means that India will be unable to compete for high end manufacturing and jobs in the next transport revolution and gifts China, a strategic rival, a stranglehold on this developing business.

India’s new policy is in stark contrast to the policies that have been put in place in the other major mineral sands producing countries and to illustrate this point I have outlined below the policies currently in place in those countries that compete with India in the mineral sands industry.

Australia: All mineral sands exportable and recognition that monazite is the only mineral sand with appreciable levels of radiation activity. Apart from monazite there are no restrictions on supplying ilmenite, zircon, rutile or xenotime unless they contain greater than 500 parts per million (ppm) or 0.05% of combined U3O8 + ThO2.

Control of monazite is undertaken by notification to the relevant Government body and export approval can be granted for 10 years after provision of information based upon a principal of know your customer and the ultimate end use. Otherwise no restrictions except for that monazite is classed as a hazardous material and the appropriate transport regulations must be met.

Kenya: All mineral sands (including monazite) are exportable but monazite requires specific export approval as it is classed as a ‘Strategic Mineral’ as it is radioactive. Recently approval has been granted for the export of rare earth minerals for 21 years with a slightly higher royalty of 5%.

In the new Mining Act of 2016 there is specific provision for the continuance of mineral licence conditions which does not allow for changes to licence and royalty provisions even if there are changes to the Act. Hence this provides certainty to the holder of the mining licence that terms and conditions of their mining licence cannot be changed during the term of their licence either in the future or retrospectively.

Mozambique: All mineral sands are exportable including monazite and there are no restrictions on the mining or handling of monazite except for normal OH&S provisions governing the handling of radioactive minerals.

USA: No restriction beyond normal hazardous material OH&S regulations. Currently plans are in place to export monazite to Canada for processing.

Vietnam: All mineral sands are exportable except monazite which is classed as a strategic mineral and subject to Prime Ministerial control. Vietnam is a leading supplier of ilmenite and zircon to China.

Finally nowhere else except India classifies the standard mineral sands of ilmenite, rutile, zircon or leucoxene as rare earth minerals for the very simple reason that they contain no rare earths at all.

The outcome of these most recent changes is to restrict India’s participation in the mineral sands industry and hence to restrict its ability to participate in the benefits that flow from the daily and future use of the elements contained in these minerals.

Examples of current, cutting edge manufactured products produced from mineral sands that are either under development or have recently been introduced include the following:


Ilmenite and rutile:

Both these titanium bearing minerals are consumed in the development and production of a myriad number of products used in daily life. However apart from the traditional production of TiO2 pigment there is a growing requirement for specialist titanium metal alloys in both the aerospace, aircraft and military/defence industries. This requirement is based around titanium metals properties of being corrosion resistance and having a very high strength to weight ratio. Hence demand is growing for titanium metal for submarine hulls, missile bodies and particularly in the construction of the new generation Boeing and Airbus passenger aircraft.

In aircraft the high strength to weight ratio of titanium metal is advantageous in reducing aircraft weight while maintaining structural integrity. These properties have also led to the development of new titanium/aluminium alloys for use in the new generation and fuel efficient aircraft engines currently under development by both General Electric and Rolls Royce where titanium alloys are used in high stress areas such as turbine airfoils, exhaust systems and compressor blades.

In defence the use of titanium metal is well established in submarine hull construction due to its properties and with the growing uncertainty in geopolitics, this demand is projected to expand. For the same reasons titanium metal alloys are used in missile bodies another area of defence spending growth.

Another example of the new or increasing commercial application of titanium dioxide is in photocatalytic or self-cleaning glass. First commercialised in 2001 in the UK, the ongoing technical developments in this field are assisting this technology to spread into lower level commercial and residential applications and hence increasing demand for this technology and hence for titanium dioxide.

In all the above cases irrespective of whether they are construction, defence or aerospace/aeronautical applications, a secure and long term supply source of ilmenite and rutile are required. Without these supply sources there can be no industrial development.



Zircon sand’s primary constituent zirconium is once again a material used every day in deodorants, ceramics and a multitude of everyday uses. Once again technological developments are leading to increased demand for zircon and zirconium compounds in many applications but particularly in advanced ceramic applications. Further zirconium’s high temperature and corrosion resistance means it is used extensively in nuclear power plants, satellites, space vehicles generally where high temperatures are experienced and aircraft engines.

New applications are particularly seen in the development of new, lightweight composite materials being increasingly used in the aeronautical industry and defence industries.



Monazite has one major use and that is as a source of rare earth elements. Previously it was used in gas mantle and cigarette lighters however its only use now is a source of rare earths.

Rare earths are used in a surprising number of everyday products but their main use is as a source of neodymium, praseodymium, samarium and dysprosium, the major elements in rare earth based magnets. Such magnets are used in any number of applications including mobile phones, computers, motor vehicles, speakers, wind turbines, electric hand tools, adhesive magnets, mineral separation, roller coasters, MRI machines, electric vehicles and many traction motors, electric guitars and many more applications. However the growth area is in the demand for electric vehicles which is poised to grow exponentially in the next decade as vehicles move from the internal combustion motor to electric motors.


Hence by not permitting the mining and exploitation of these minerals India will continue to miss out on the benefits of this modernisation of industry that is currently underway. These benefits are not restricted to employment or technology but also to the development of a sustainable and modern economy. These restrictions will ensure that India remains reliant on external supply sources with its attendant costs to the economy and its balance of payments.

Apart from the loss of current and future manufacturing and technology the ban on the movement and transportation of mineral sands enforced by the Tamil Nadu Government in November 2016 has created uncertainty amongst India’s trading partners regarding the application of the relevant laws in India. Further it has shown that sovereign risk is a real and ongoing threat to both international investment and the development of cutting edge and modern domestic industries in India. Without access to a long term and stable supply of raw materials no downstream manufacturing can be considered and ‘Make in India’ is not possible.


Thanking You.


Yours Truly,

for Beach Minerals Producers Association






As per this notification, it prima facie appears that the private sector who are presently having mining leases for beach sand minerals will have to relinquish their rightful mining leases, even though nothing specific is mentioned in the notifications regarding the existing mining leases. It is amply clear that it will not be possible to get any fresh mining lease for beach sand minerals by any private player.

History of Beach Sand Minerals Industry in India:

India is endowed with a coastline of over 6000 km and hosts some of the largest heavy  mineral placer deposits along the coastal stretches as well as  a few inland, mostly in the states of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Kerala and Maharashtra. These beach placers contain a multi mineral suite of heavy minerals comprising Ilmenite, Garnet, Leucoxene, Rutile, Zircon, Sillimanite  and Monazite. Most of these minerals occur together and their individual contents  vary from deposit to deposit depending on various factors associated with their formation by  natural geological processes. The major mineral in most of these Beach sand mineral deposits is ilmenite.

India contains significant reserves of Ilmenite, Garnet and Monazite containing  Rare earths ( Table 1), but these resources remain grossly underutilized with the production to reserve ratio ( PRR) being a meagre 0.0018 % when  compared to global PRR of 0.01% . India is stuck in this paradox and must leverage its plentiful resources to transform into a major global producer .


S.No. Mineral World Reserves

Million Tonnes**

Reserves in India

Million Tonnes*

Percentage share of global reserves
1 Ilmenite 1400 593 35
2 Garnet 420 168 40
3 Sillimanite NA 226 NA
4 Zircon 243 34 14
5 Rutile 310 31 10
6 Monazite 17 12 71

Table 1     ( *India figures are based on  AMD,. Hyderabad report . **World figures are based on USGS report for 2013)

Beach sand minerals and their derivatives find diverse applications in day to day use as well as strategic and high tech applications. The key impediment for the growth of this sector has been the constraints and challenges faced due to current mining policies and rules governing the Beach sand minerals. With proper encouragement and recognition from the Government for the BSM sector, this could be a mega opportunity for a successful “Mine in India “ and “Make In India” programme.

BSM Industry  scenario

The beach sand minerals mining activity in India is over a century old and commenced in 1908 when the beach sand containing monazite was mined and taken to European countries from the erstwhile Travancore state. After independence, the BSM sector was brought under the controlled regime due to the presence of monazite. It is pertinent to note that until 1998, this sector was restricted only to Public sector companies   and there was no substantial development in the production capacity of these beach sand minerals and no significant value addition facilities.  Recognising the untapped potential of the Beach Sand Minerals sector, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) announced the Policy on exploitation of Beach Sand Minerals in 1998 and opened up this sector to wholly Indian owned companies which brought in significant investments by private sector companies. Since entry of the private sector, the production of beach sand minerals has substantially increased and the export value has increased from Rs. 35 crores in 1998 to over Rs 5000 crores in 2016. The private sector producers have spearheaded   not only mineral production but   also invested in the value chain.


The current estimated production and demand figures for the minerals and value-added products of ilmenite (Table 2) amplify the incongruity in domestic production despite ample resource potential.


Mineral   /product   Indian production

(lakh tonnes)

  Indian Demand

(lakh tonnes)



(lakh tonnes)



(lakh tonnes)

  Average Growth rate / year India


Garnet 7 0.15 12 12.5 5-8% Exporter
Ilmenite 11 1 175 190 3-5% Exporter
Zircon 0.4 0.8 15.5 15.5 3-5% Importer
Rutile 0.25 0.45 9.75 9.75 5-8% Importer
TiO2pigment 0.50 2.20 72.0 70.0 3-5% Importer
Rare Earths Negligible RE products imported 1.7 1.6 5-10% Importer

Table 2  (* These figures are estimated based on the production figures available with the producers worldwide and port statistics on import and export of the minerals and their products when it was at the peak).

It may be worth mentioning that if only government companies will be exploiting the beach sand minerals in India in future as contemplated in the notifications, it is definite that the beach sand mineral deposits will always remain under the earth for generations and India will have to totally depend on import of beach sand minerals and their value added products as it can be seen from the scale of operation of the public sector units for the last more than 50 years. It is a pity that the present “Make in India” government is driving this sector for import of our requirements ignoring  all the financial, technical and managerial capabilities which are locally available.

The fall out of the notifications will be as follows:

  1. The value addition units set up by private miners to value add the ilmenite has to be either closed down or import ilmenite which is their feed material. This has to be at an extra cost and the value-added product produced by importing the ilmenite will make their product uncompetitive to the titanium dioxide product imported from China. This is due to the bad experience faced by VV Titanium Private Limited during the last few years when ilmenite production by private miners were suspended in Tamilnadu. Indian Rare Earths Limited (IRE) was not able to supply even one grain of the mineral and instead they were interested in export of ilmenite at the cost of the local industry. It is also a pity that IRE does not have any value addition facility for any of these minerals nor have any intention to set up any. Hence this move will definitely help China.
  2. It is a proud moment to state that Indian private beach sand mineral producers had made it possible to make India the second largest producer and exporter of the mineral garnet in the world. However, by this notification, it will be totally demolished. It is also a pity that IRE, instead of producing garnet, are selling the garnet concentrate (as they are unable to produce marketable grade) to outside companies to produce garnet.
  3. All the private beach sand mineral producers in India will look for investment abroad where the concentration of the heavy minerals are much less than what is available in India as they have the technicality to produce these minerals at lower cost, which will result in capital outflow for the country.
  4. India will have to import the requirement of all the beach sand minerals and their value added products which will have a double effect of reduction in export of around Rs. 5000 crores and increase of imports to the tune of around Rs. 3000 crore minimum at the present level and will exponentially increase when the industrial and economic activity of India improves.
  5. The occurrence of the beach sand minerals is unique and there is the possibility of inhabitation on these deposits in due coarse of time if it is timely exploited. Over the years, there is a possibility of these deposits becoming not mineable due to inhabitation.
  6. Almost more than 50,000 persons who are directly employed by the private mining companies will become jobless in addition to another 1,00,000 indirect employees facing destruction.
  7. The efficient and trained manpower in the BSM industry will become obsolete.



  1. Countries like China and Australia who are competitors for the beach sand mineral products and value added products.
  2. The self declared activists and environmentalists who are backed by agencies who are determined to destruct the technological, financial and economical development of our nation.


Time of India News is wrong

Our association send one clarification letter to Times of India for the wrong news publish by them. This is for the information of our members.


———- Forwarded message ———
From: Pauldurai Perumal <>
Date: Tue, Feb 26, 2019 at 10:04 AM
Subject: Objection to your article “Private Firms jolted by Beach Sand Mining Ban”
To: <>, <>, <> and others

Date : 26.02.2019


  1. Grievance Officer,

Plot No. 391, Udyog Vihar, Phase – III,

The Times of India

Gurgaon, Haryana 122016, India

Ph: 0124-4518550

  1. The Chief Editor, Times of India, Mumbai
  2. The Editor, Times of India, Chennai
  3. Grievances Redressal Officer, Times of India, Chennai
  4. The Editor, Times of India, Madurai
  5. Grievances Redressal Officer, Times of India, Madurai

Dear Sirs,

We Beach Minerals Producers Association (BMPA) established in the year 1995, to make the Manufacturers & Employees of the beach minerals (atomic minerals) industry join hands for common issues and organize them through a common platform to develop Beach Minerals (Atomic Minerals) Industries. There are 61 nos of Beach Mineral Mining Leases, which are functioning under the guidance of this Association. The efficient and valuable guidance of the Association, lead to bring our country as largest producer of Garnet in the World.

Today we have gone through an article has published in your esteemed Newspaper wherein “Private Firms jolted by Beach Sand Mining Ban” have been reported by your reporter with baseless evidences and to prejudice the judiciary. This has been reported by your reporter Mr. K. Antony Xavier.

Perhaps your reporter may be unaware about the Environmental Activist Mr. Lal Mohan. He is basically very old man and presently he has become ineffective due to his age. Earlier he was so active and he used to get funds from different sources, similar to all NGOs. All Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli District persons know him well and Mr. Lal Mohan is not a Real Environmentalist, but he is working for money. Now really he is starving for money due to his age and restriction from the Government against Funding from other countries. Daya Devadoss utilised the opportunity and this has made Mr. Lal Mohan to collude with Daya Devadoss. Now Mr. Lal Mohan is funded by Daya Devadoss. Earlier daya Devadoss utilised the Retd. IAS officer Mr. Sundaram. Now Daya Devadoss is utilising Mr. Lal Mohan and started playing games.

Here we have to say some thing about daya Devadoss. You may kindly aware that Daya Devadoss is working against Private Beach Sand Mining with malafide intention. You can see a lot by visiting the videos in .

Mineral sand industry has been in India since 1919. It was Privatized after 1965. However after 1998,  all other associated minerals were allowed, except Monazite. India’s Mineral Sand export was increased. Revenue through Foreign exchange was also increased. Job opportunity in the most back ward rain shadow area, was also increased, due to mineral sand industry. Our Association Members have played a vital role on the systematic development of this profession and up to date on latest development. The M/s.V.V. Mineral Company’s share on systematic development of Mineral Industries is very high. The study book Rochelle published in the UK in 1995 revealed that M/s. V.V. Mineral’s Garnet Production, made India’s 14th place, to reach 5th place. Likewise, in 2000 they have listed, M/s.V.V. Mineral has overtaken the world’s No. 1 producer Australia’s M/s. GMA Garnet Group company. Thus the affected foreign companies started filing the false complaints, with the aid of M/s. Indian Garnet Sand Company owner Mr. Daya Devadas, a politician who has been detained for 25 years with the M/s. V.V. Mineral, by forming an fake Association called Federation of Indian Placer Mineral Industries. Thus, a false complaints were filed against M/s.V.V. Mineral, by the Daya Devadas company, which distanced the attention of the Government and Daya Devadas carried out illegal mining works. Due to his illegal mining, his mining lease rights were cancelled. For carrying out the above illegal activities, he will keep everyone in the hands, ranging from of the retired high-ranking officers to Paid Reporters such as Sandhya Ravi Shankar. The video about the conspiracy plot in this way is in our website, both in English and Tamil.

Now all of sudden Daya Devadoss started supporting M/s. Indian Rare Earths Ltd. (IREL). Similarly Mr. Lal Mohan also deviating from his earlier position and supporting IREL. Here it is important to mention that, earlier both Mr. Lal Mohan and Daya Devadoss were strong opposers of IREL. This is similar to the proverb “Goat is wetting Wolf is crying”.

Actually the Government Company, M/s. Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IREL) only carrying out Illegal Mining. You can find a lot in .

IREL is operating the plant and mining without any Environmental Clearance for the past 25-30 years, after the introduction of Environmental Laws. Since they are Government Company, Government officials are not taking any stringent action against IREL. Then also some incidents that some District Collectors and senior Government Officials took action against IREL and ultimately IREL will go to court and operate their plant. With the strong opposition from the local publics and IREL mining operations were stalled for few months for want of Environmental Clearance. To overcome this issue they could able to obtain the Environmental Clearance during the month of April 2018. Now also out of four mining leases IREL is having Environmental Clearance for only two leases. That two leases are not in operation for the past 20 years for want of Environmental Clearance. This is the position of IREL regarding Environment. Whereas your Newspaper is supporting the Government Company. Whereas, our association members were granted mining lease only after getting Environmental Clearance or commencing mining operation only after getting EC.

Also, IREL only involved in mining from sea shore. Due to rampant mining the grade of beach sand get depleted. To overcome this issue IREL is doubling their Capacity of Mining. Even after doubling the capacity of mining their out put has depleted. Due to rampant mining by IREL in beaches, lead severe sea erosion in all beaches were observed. The sea erosion due IREL mining is well known fact to all the Kanyakumari District Public.

Thus IREL is having four mining leases. Out of 4 only 2 ML is in operation. Balance 2 ML is not in operation for want of EC. In the operating 2 mining leases, one ML is fully submerged under the sea. Whole extent of 7.06 Hect  of this Mining Lease is under sea. Another one Mining lease, out of 141.22.69. Hect almost 100 Hect submerged under the sea. By knowing the fact several officers tried to demarcate the mining lease area. But IREL not ready to fix the boundary pillars, since fixing of boundary pillars inside the sea, is not practically possible. Thus IREL is not ready to lay the boundary pillars and demarcate their area. Thus IREL is involved in Illegal and Rampant Mining for the past 20 years. This has caused about 200 people death Tsunami in Colachel village, which is part and parcel of IREL  Mining Lease.

Whereas, our association members are carrying out mining operations in their own Patta Lands. Those lands are purchased by them and they are having surface right over the land. Also those land are lying quite away from sea shore. These details are readily available in all Government Departments.

Our association members lands are getting mineralised due to wind. Our association members mining leases are in East Coast. In the East Coast wind is predominant.

Whereas IREL is having mining lease in West Coast and mineral deposition happens due to tidal waves. In the West Coast, tidal waves are predominant.

The above factors have been well proved by different agencies such as CESS, Anna University etc after carrying out detailed study.

Also, in your news paper you have published that our association members are involved in exploiting thorium and exporting it to Australia, China and Russia.

This Statement is viewed very seriously by our association mmbers and heavy objection and disagreement is observed in multiple ways.

You may kindly aware no country involved or master in exploitation of Thorium. Thorium is like a mad dog. Our country also still in Pilot Plant stage. Thorium Production and Thorium based reactors require multiple stage of safety. Also, at present no country is technically sound enough to produce Thorium as such.

All ports and harbours are well equipped and furnished with sophisticated equipment to restrict  abduction or illegal export of Thorium.  You can find out the same in . Particularly through Tuticiorin Port, which has the facility, no such material is exported. You can find out the in .

Whereas the newspapers like you, without understanding the real facts and are propagating such news on   wrong information  will affect our members. Already more than 50000 persons are affected by directly and indirectly due to stoppage of Private BSM industries.

Hence you may kindly appreciate our views and considering the severity of the issue, kindly publish our clarification in your news paper.

With Kind Regards


Beach Mineral Producers Association