The State Government has the power only to control illegal mining. It has no power to control transportation or trade of mineral – Supreme Court Judgement

The Honourable Supreme Court recently pass an order in CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 10373 – 10374 OF 2010 stating that, the State Govt., could not control the mineral trade or transportation to other states.  Copy of the Judgement is given below.

 

Sand mining export to other others – state of gujarat vs jayeshbhari kanjibhai (1 March, 2019)

Before taking action, our members should be heard – Madras High Court order

As usual, on the instigation of International competitors, the hooligans from India induced Bureaucracy to prepare Ex-party report against our members.  We submit representation to the concerned persons. Since no reply from them, we filed writ petition before the Madras High Court. The Honourable Madras High Court while disposing the writ petition make it clear that, the Principles of Natural Justice to be followed in this case also and in case Government want to take action based on the report, our members should be heard about the same.

Copy of the Judgement is given below for information to all.

W.P. NO.557 OF 2019 High Court order reg IBM BSM Committee W.P. 557 of 2019 dt. 11.2.19 High Court order reg IBM BSM Committee

 

National Mineral Policy 2019 approved by Govt., of India

Key proposals of the National Mineral Policy 2019

 Proposes to increase the production of major minerals by 200 per cent in seven years, and reduce trade deficit in
mineral sector by 50 per cent in seven years.

 Aims to attract private investment through incentives like financial package, right of first refusal at the time of
auction etc. or any other appropriate incentive according to international practices.

 Introduces the concept of Exclusive Mining Zones which will come with in-principle statutory clearances for
grant of mining lease.

 Emaphasises on simplifying the clearance process and making it time-bound for mineral development and commencement of mining operations.

 Proposes to identify critically fragile ecosystems and declare such areas as “no-go areas”/ “inviolate areas”.

 Encourages merger and acquisition of mining entities, and transfer of mining leases that have been granted in a
transparent manner to ensure seamless supply of ores and scaling up of business.

 Focuses on a long term export-import policy for the mineral sector to provide stability for investing in large
scale commercial mining activity.

 Proposes harmonising royalty and all other levies and taxes with mining jurisdiction across the world.

 Emphasises on ensuring welfare of mining-affected people / communities and ensuring rehabilitation and resettlement, by suitable implementation of all relevant Acts / Rules.

 Introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity in mineral resource exploitation.

Proposes development of an over-arching inter-ministerial body, under the aegis of the Ministry of Mines, to institutionalise mechanisms of sustainable mining. The body will also advise the Government on rates of royalty, dead rent etc

 

NMP 12-03-2019

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

To

 

Shri.P.K.Mishra,

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:

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:

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

President

 

 

IMPACT OF THE RECENT NOTIFICATION BY MINISTRY OF MINES FIXING THE TLV OF MONAZITE IN TOTAL HEAVY MINERALS AS 0.0% IN BEACH SAND MINERALS DEPOSITS.

IMPACT OF THE RECENT NOTIFICATION BY MINISTRY OF MINES FIXING THE TLV OF MONAZITE IN TOTAL HEAVY MINERALS AS 0.0% IN BEACH SAND MINERALS DEPOSITS.

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)

  World

production

(lakh tonnes)

  World

demand

(lakh tonnes)

  Average Growth rate / year India

Scenario

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.

 

WHO IS GOING TO BENEFIT BY THESE NOTIFICATIONS:

  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 <president@beachminerals.org>
Date: Tue, Feb 26, 2019 at 10:04 AM
Subject: Objection to your article “Private Firms jolted by Beach Sand Mining Ban”
To: <grievance.toi@timesinternet.in>, <Ananth.MK@timesgroup.com>, <arunramonline@gmail.com> and others

Date : 26.02.2019

To

  1. Grievance Officer,

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

The Times of India

Gurgaon, Haryana 122016, India

Ph: 0124-4518550

grievance.toi@timesinternet.in

  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 http://www.beachminerals.org/video-home/ .

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 goo.gl/7cirVv .

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 http://www.dae.nic.in/writereaddata/parl/winter2017/lsus896.pdf . Particularly through Tuticiorin Port, which has the facility, no such material is exported. You can find out the in http://www.beachminerals.org/complaint-export-monazite-private-beach-mineral-companies-false-tuticorin-customs-confirmed/ .

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

Secretary

Beach Mineral Producers Association

Will our government implement make in India Scheme in Rare Earth field to convert the 90% world reserve as dollar?

‘Advanced research in rare earths need of the hour’

They are classified as strategic and critical materials

Chairman of the Indian Rare Earths Limited D. Singh on Sunday said due to fierce competition among global consumer electronics giants to have qualitative superiority, it had led to a situation of supply scarcity and precipitation ever since the Chinese domination in the field of research and development.

In his inaugural address at the International Conference on Science, technology and applications of rare earths (ICSTAR 2018) organised by the Rare Earths Association of India in Tirupati, Dr. Singh said the piquant situation had led to a rat race among stakeholders in rare earths for commissioning various projects. However, only a few greenfield projects had fructified. “Rare earths have been classified as strategic and critical materials by countries like America, China, Japan and South Korea. The worldwide production during 2017 is estimated at 1.6 lakh tonnes, as against the crude steel production of 1691.2 million tonnes, making the former miniscule.”

Dr. Singh said in view of the importance and inevitability of rare earths in day to day life, but with low levels of exploration, the need of the hour was to ground advanced research, development projects and production plants across the globe. It would create an environment where tendency of guarding the technology developed and acquisition of commercial scale technology would become difficult. “All stakeholders need to put in their efforts to bolster research and development, particularly the scientific community and the government to explore possibility of extending incentives akin to renewable energy,” Dr. Singh said.

Secretary of REAI Dr MLP Reddy, ICSTAR 2018 Chairperson Prof CK Jayasankar, senior scientists from all over India were present. The technological and scientific sessions would be held till September 25.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/advanced-research-in-rare-earths-need-of-the-hour/article25023238.ece

Treasure washed away to Sri Lanka

The ban on beach sand mining, apart from creating pains to many sectors, has not helped the country gain anything. In fact, somebody else is enjoying the benefits. The immediate beneficiary is Sri Lanka, our tactful island neighbor.
It seems Sri Lanka gains from every Indian move… deliberate or otherwise. Modi who may stand tall alongside his western counterparts has to bend himself before the Buddhist monks of Srilanka being fully aware of the power they wield with the Island’s government. He may directly offer the Sri Lankans many goodies to lure them away from the Chinese advances. He would not have guessed the benefits Srilanka is reaping from the ban on Beach mining along the Tamilnadu coast. It is not just Sri Lanka, but the mining giant Iluka Resources from Australia who is another major beneficiary.
The ban of Placer sands along the TN coasts was imposed in September 2013 around the same time (August 2013) when Iluka Resources, Australia acquired the ‘Tenement and Heavy-mineral resource Base’  owned by  PKD Resources (Pvt) Ltd of Srilanka in Puttalam district. It was reported in the press that some 4.6 Million USD was spent on the purchase of the deposits.
Iluka Resources is not new to Sri Lanka. They were mining Beach Sands in the Island long since but left the country in 2003 citing two reasons. The company (when leaving in 2003) said that it is relinquishing its exploration leases because the quality of resources was poor and because of ‘accessibility’ issues.
What made Iluka return to Sri Lanka in 2013? The “accessibility issues” has been obviously solved with the end of the war. But how did the quality of the resource improve automatically? It is the new place Puttalam that has attracted the Mining Giant. Puttalam Quarry Deposits are located in the Northwestern Province of SriLanka, 170 Kilometers north of the Capital Colombo. The resource base is located diagonally opposite to the coasts of TN where most of the Placer mining was earlier taking place. By imposing the ban,  it seems India has knowingly or unknowingly have helped Sri Lanka et al.
Although Iluka Resources has acquired the resource tenements at Puttalam, way back in 2013, it did not start the mining operations probably, again for two new reasons.
One… To wait and watch whether the ban along the TN coast will continue.
Two… The expected elections and change of guard in Sri Lanka.
Both of the above concerns are now in favor of the mining company and now they are ready to start mining placer sands from Puttalam mines. The exploration/ mining operations are to start at the  Puttalam Quarry Deposits mentioned earlier. Again looking back at Iluka’s two main concerns the second concern is straightforward and understandable. It is political in nature. The Company came back in 2015 and negotiated with the new Government in Sri Lanka. It seems they have come to an understanding with the Government, as reported in many sections of the Sri Lankan Press.
Their first concern is more intriguing and requires some understanding of mineral geology.
Garnet, Ilmenite, and Rutile like minerals are found in hard rocks and are formed due to various geological processes over long times. Apart from the natural processes of the sun, wind, and rains, the rivers that flow through the rocks erode them to form sand sediments. The sediments are carried by the flowing river into the ocean. The mineral enriched sand gets dumped at the seashore known as the trap site.
The sand thus accumulated at the shore drifts along the beach to new coastal areas due to a process known as Longshore Drift (See image above). Longshore Drift happens mainly due to (oblique) wave action on the shores. When the volume of removal from the trap site is not huge, the mineral accumulates at the shores to form sustainable concentrations. It is this sand, mankind mines in the name of placer sand or beach mineral sand.
The sand thus accumulated at the shore drifts along the beach to new coastal areas due to a process is known as Longshore Drift (See image above). Longshore Drift happens mainly due to (oblique) wave action on the shores. When the volume of removal from the trap site is not huge, the mineral accumulates at the shores to form sustainable concentrations. It is this sand, mankind mines in the name of placer sand or beach mineral sand.
The picture becomes even more interesting with the presence of Adam’s bridge or Rama Sethu the submerged land bridge between India and Sri Lanka. The Longshore drift happens along Adam’s bridge and the mineral sands reach Sri Lankan Shores. This is particularly the case with Puttalam coasts of Sri Lanka. The Tamilnadu coast, the Adams bridge and the North-West coast of Sri Lanka forms a bay where sands drift with utmost speed. When you do not mine the sands here in India the sands will eventually reach Sri Lankan coasts where they are going to mined (See Figure above).  This is how the ban here has helped Sri Lanka to reopen the mining operations.
Placer sands are totally replenishable and bring in huge benefits to the country in terms of direct revenues and employment. The Beach sand, according to the available composition is segregated into minerals like Ilmenite, Zircon, Garnet, Rutile, Leucoxene that are useful in making Paints, Ceramics, and abrasives apart from feeding many other industries.
If the ban was to prevent some private players becoming rich, what is preventing the governments to do the mining? But a natural question will spring up. When the government is privatizing critical sectors like Railways and even Military production why they should shy away from privatizing Beach mining? The governments have to be careful in monitoring the private parties in terms of royalty collection, handling of radioactive minerals, and damage to the environment. Instead of bowing to pressure from vested interests and squarely imposing a ban we must have a pragmatic look at the global picture and decide.
Iluka has pointed to huge employment, Economic growth and indirect growth of other industries in Sri Lanka that will come with the beach sand mining. So it goes without saying India loses employment, revenues, and allied Industrial growth. Sri Lanka knows India is always ready to shoot itself in the foot to charm its neighbor but India has also got to see what it loses in the task.
Source : https://responsiblemining.in/2018/05/30/treasure-washed-away-to-sri-lanka/

Representation to reverse the DGFT notification No. 26 of 2018

Copy of representation submitted to the Honourable commerce Minister is posted for information of our members

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To,

Shri. Suresh Prabhu,

Honourable Minister for Commerce,

Government of India, New Delhi

  

Respected Sir,

Sub: Export Policy of Beach Sand Minerals (BSM) in Chapter 26 of Schedule 2 of  ITC(HS) Classification of Export and Import Items 2018 – regarding.

Ref: Directorate of Foreign Trade Notification No. 26/2015-2020, New Delhi, Dated 21, August, 2018.

 

Our organization consisting of the private Beach Sand Minerals (BSM) miners, producers and exporters as members is concerned about the above referred notification and wish to bring the following facts for the consideration of the honourable minister for  perusal and consideration in the interest of the country.

This notification is a retrograde step in the development of Beach sand Minerals (BSM) in the country which is vital for the development of the country.

In the above notification Note 1 states “ Export of Rare Earth compounds classified as Beach Sand Minerals (BSM), namely (ilmenite, rutile, leucoxene (Titanium bearing mineral), Zircon, Garnet, Sillimanite and monazite (Uranium and Thorium), shall be regulated in terms of Sl. No. 98A of Chapter 26 Schedule 2 of ITC (HS) Classification.”

The above statement itself is fundamentally erroneous as the definition of rare earths given is totally wrong. Rare Earths is a group of 17 elements in the periodic table. Out of the above mentioned minerals, only monazite mineral contains  rare earths and no other beach sand mineral contain any trace of rare earths. Monazite contains around 65% of rare earth elements, 8-10% of thorium and 0.30 to 0.35% of uranium. Hence, the statement “Rare Earth compounds classified as Beach Sand Minerals (BSM)” is not at all correct and gives a totally false implication. We like to inform that none of the minerals other than monazite contain any trace of rare earths elements.

Only monazite mineral can be classified as “Rare Earth Compounds” and not any other mineral under BSM.

The beach sand mining in India is more than one century old. The first mining was started in 1908 when the beach sand containing monazite was mined and taken to European countries from the erstwhile Travancore state. Subsequently, processing facilities were set up to separate the minerals like monazite, ilmenite etc. in Manavalakurichi presently in Tamilnadu and Chavara, Kerala. Till 1965, only private players were in the field and the companies were producing and exporting around 3.00 lakh tpa of ilmenite. After taking over of the private industries in 1965 by Indian Rare Earths Ltd.,(IRE),  a government of India undertaking under the control of Department of atomic energy, IRE and Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML), a Kerala government enterprise were the only organizations in the field. Till 1998, these two companies were producing only around 4.00 lakh tones per annum of these minerals. This amounted to a growth of only around 30% from 1965 to 1998 ( a period of 33 years) which was around 2-3 % of the world production. After opening up of the industry to private sector for mining and production of all minerals other than monazite in 1998, the annual production of BSM in India had gone up to around 12.00 lakhs tones in 2012.  The private sector started production of ilmenite only in 2002 and zircon and rutile in 2006. This growth is phenomenal as within a period of  ten years the production had increased threefold. It may also be noted that India is the second largest producer of garnet in the world. It is pertinent to point out here that, India has 40% of the total world reserve of Garnet and 35% of total world reserve of Ilmenite.

Subsequently as per the recommendation of the National Planning Commission High Level Committee, Govt., of India de-listed Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, and Leucoxene and recommended Ministry of Mines to amend MMDR Act, to de-list the same from first schedule and DAE dispensed of the licensing procedure from DAE and directed to obtain license from Atomic Energy Regulatory Board under Radiation Protection Rules.

After opening up of this sector to private for BSM mining and production of the various minerals other than monazite, there was phenomenal increase in production and export of these minerals which affected the monopoly of the international producers as India became the main competitor. With a view to curtail the production and export from India, the foreign companies with the help of various vested interests in India started a campaign to malign the private producers. One of the main points raised in all these falsifications is illegal export of monazite. This false campaign had its own impact on the various government and other agencies and the genesis of this notification may also be the same.

Ever since the Atomic Energy Act was implemented in India, monazite export was banned and all other BSM products need to get a monazite content certificate for export of any consignment. Accordingly, Atomic Minerals Division (AMD) was the nodal agency to take samples and issue the certificate.  The export can take place only if AMD certifies that the monazite content is within the prescribed limit. But this procedure was dispensed with DAE as per the recommendation of the High Level Committee of the National Planning Commission (The report is available in http://planningcommission.gov.in/reports/genrep/rep_nmp.pdf and in page No. 168 to 182 relating to beach sand minerals). We represent DAE to reintroduce the Monazite  Test Certificate Procedure again and we are ready to bare the cost etc.,  But DAE did not agree our request indicating that there is no demand for monazite in overseas countries as it is freely available all over the world. Now DAE fix gadgets in all ports and airports equipped with facilities to measure the radiation level of consignments.

We also like to bring to the notice of all concerned that the canalising of the export is proposed through Indian rare Earths Limited (IREL), which has vested interest in this business, them being one of the producers of these minerals and a competitor to our members. Making them as the canalizing agent for BSM minerals will have the following implications:

  1. For each mineral, there are different quality specifications which may not be in the range of IREL, resulting that IREL representative will not be able to understand the implications and will cause hurdles in the export of these minerals.
  2. The marketing of the products by our members is totally different than that of IREL. Our members produce the minerals as per the required specification of each buyer. And this will result in the representative of IREL not understanding of the real situation and will result in delay of exports.
  3. There is a likelihood that IREL may underquote to the customers once the price at which our members sell to their customers through this process which will affect the export from our country and also the business of our members.
  4. IREL is likely to charge exorbitant amounts for their services to make up for their operational losses as at present, which may make our export business unviable, as this will be additional expense for our members.
  5. This notification is brought with immediate effect. Our members are  at the various stages of executing their orders and IREL is not tuned to handle this with immediate effect. Many of the consignments are at the stages of transportation to the ports, stock at the port, vessels already commissioned and vessels partially loaded. What will happen to these cases?”
  6. The delay by IREL is likely to result of pour members losing their export orders.

If the present notification is implemented, the private sector enterprises in the BSM sector will be totally wiped out in India resulting in import of all the country’s requirement of BSM and their derivative products draining valuable foreign exchange and more than 50,000 people will loss their employment who get direct / indirect employment by way of beach mineral industry.

Moreover if, these minerals are not utilized for our nation’s development by way of export, there are possibilities that these resources may become waste due to the Technology development and there is possibilities to transported to the nearby countries by way of wave action and sea current.

It is worth mentioning that for these minerals, normally long term export contracts for more than three years are signed when the prices are high. There are many pending contracts valid till now and if not honored, the Indian companies will have to pay huge penalty as damages. Further, valuable foreign exchange will also be lost. We could not recapture the overseas market developed for the last 20 years.

Hence, to ensure the country’s interest and the interest of the miners and exporters, and to ensure that monazite does not leave the country, the following alternative action plans are recommended:

  1. The  practice of monazite certificate from a designated authority as was prevalent till 2007 may be re-introduced as a pre-requisite for export of BSM and the producers may be allowed to export all the BSM other than monazite as was practiced till 2007.
  2. If the government feels that canalisation needs to be implemented, a separate agency who is not a producer of the BSM may be appointed for this purpose so that both private and public sector is brought within the purview of this agency.
  3. The producers may be allowed to export the minerals till the agency is appointed and the formalities are over. It is suggested that if at all required to have a canalizing agency, an incubation period of atleast three months may be allowed for appointment of this agency and till such time the producers may be allowed to export their products as was done till now.

It is requested that the honourable minister looks into this matter in detail and instruct to make necessary modification in the notification considering the various aspects  indicated so that national interest is of primary interest.

Yours truly

N.Pauldurai @ Perumal

President

Beach Mineral Producers Association.