Stoppage of Beach Minerals is one of the reason for bad financial situation in Tamilnadu – White paper reveals.

The Tamil Nadu government has issued a white report on the state’s financial situation. The images from that white report are attached here and it is considered as the most important one. That represents the financial condition of the state which has been deteriorating since 2013.

Since then, 50,000 workers lost their jobs at the same time as the beach sand mine was totally shut down due to false allegations. This proves that the beach sand mining strike is one of the main reasons for the deteriorating financial condition of the state. Looking forward with the list, the financial situation has been deteriorated immensely in the period 2019 to 2021. In 2019, the central government seemingly ordered the concurrent cancellation of about 24 per cent of major mineral mining leases across India. That means the federal government canceled 72 of the 328 major mining leases across India. Among these, 64 mining leases are identified to be in Tamil Nadu. Hopefully the situation will be understood by now. What is the reason for Tamil Nadu becoming so bad financially?

The former Tamil Nadu Industry Minister did not write a letter to the Central Government stating that it was wrong for the Central Government to cancel the mining leases without consulting the State Government for its own hostility. However the present government is taking various measures to recover the financial position as earlier as possible. So let’s hope this action is taken as well. And, It is considered a mistake by the Central Government to cancel about 64 mining leases in Tamil Nadu without consulting the Government of Tamil Nadu. The State  Government is requested to write a letter to the Ministry of Mines asking them to withdraw the cancellation order. The above 64 mining leases is estimated to provide employment to 50,000 workers and will mine and export mineral sand to the tune of Rs. 5000 crore per annum. Of this, 28 per cent stands for GST. 10 per cent export tax is owned only by the Central Government. Therefore, GST tax compensation of Rs 1400 crore per annum, export tax compensation of Rs. 500 crore to the Central Government and the loss to the state government is estimated as Rs 200 crore per annum in the form of 3 % royalty and tax on it.

50,000 workers are paid a minimum of Rs 10,000 and a maximum of Rs 30,000.  On this way also Government will get 400 crore rupees a year in GST by spending a portion of their salaries on food, clothing and education to support 50,000 families. With this, the revenue available to the state government through ancillary industries and those who get employment
through this have been affected since 2019. So the state government alone is not responsible for this financial burden worsened. The action of the
present central government is also a factor.

Therefore, to protect the livelihood of a total of 50,000 workers and to fix
the financial position of the Government of Tamil Nadu, The state
government needs to appoint the right officers at the right place and plan
accordingly to restructure this industry.

Tamil Nadu, which has been the largest producer of beach sand in India since 1994, has now slipped to 3rd place due to a misguided order by the Central Government. India, the world’s largest producer of ore sand, is now ranked 5th. If this is the reason why all these incompetent officers are employed in important posts then there is no doubt about the size of the sesame. It is fortunate enough that Tamil Nadu has an unexpected Finance Minister.

Chief Minister Shri.M.K. Stalin has also appointed a good finance minister in accordance to emerge from a similar financial crisis. We therefore hope
that the Finance Minister will take note of the opposite period of the beach sand workers.

 

Out of 335 operating mining leases 72 private beach mineral mining leases terminated by JS, MOM. This is the reason for negative growth of Indian Economy

The Below list downloaded from Ministry of Mines shows that, total 335 major mineral mining leases including beach mineral mining leases operated all over India on 2017. There is no fresh grant after 2017. But Joint Secretary, Ministry of Mines terminated 72 private beach mineral mining leases vide his order No. 1/1/2019-M.VI dated 01.03.2019 which affects more than one lakh people’s bread winning employment.

 

More than Rs.4000 Cr/year foreign exchange earnings lose to government in addition to Rs.1200 Cr/year by way of GST as well as Export Duty.  Indian Producers has lost their 40 years developed market share to China and other countries. Foreign investors also lost their faith over India to invest in the mining field.  Only convening of a meeting including beach mineral mining lessees, Atomic Energy Department, Ministry of Mines officials under the Chairmanship of Honourable Prime Minister alone will save 100 year old beach mineral industries and save one lakh families from poverty.

 

 

5 கோடி வேலை வாய்ப்பை உருவாக்கும் சுரங்க தொழிலுக்கு பாதுகாப்பு கொடுக்க பிரதமருக்கு FIMI கடிதம்.

மனித குல வளர்ச்சிக்கு சுரங்கங்கள் இன்றி அமையாதது மட்டும் அல்ல. வேலைவாய்ப்பிற்கும் சுரங்கங்கள் இன்றி அமையாதது. சுமார் 5 கோடி வேலை வாய்ப்பை உருவாக்க கூடிய சுரங்க தொழில் தற்போது தொழிலாளர்களுக்கு வேலை இழப்பை கொடுக்கிறது.

 

Mining Sector can create 5 Crore Jobs – Protect Mining Industry – FIMI appeal to Prime Minister

Except Water, Food, Wood and Wood products all others are made from minerals. So Mining Industry is important for the human being. It generate not only crores of employment, feed raw material for all the industries earn valuable foreign exchange to our nation in addition to huge revenue by way of tax – FIMI’s press release requesting PM to protect mining industry.

 

VV Minerals role in reducing Global Warming is appreciated by International Environmentalists

The International Conference of Pollution and Global Warming 2017 convened on 16-18 October 2017 at  Atlanda, USA  accept the research paper submitted by our association through Dr. T. Anitha and Mrs. K. NithyaKalyani. The International Scientists appreciated the paper and suggest all the industries should follow this method. This is one more achievement of our association.  Full paper is given below for the members reference.

**************

 

 

Atlanda Coference paper

Technical Papers presented in International Seminar of “Mineral Processing Technology”

Mining Engineer’s Association arranged one International Seminar of “Mineral Processing Technology, during Feb 1-3, 2017. It contain lot of Technical papers of Mineral processing relating to number of minerals including beach minerals. All the technical papers presented in the International Seminar are given below.

MPT 2017 FULL PAPERS- compressed

 

Privatization of rare earth mining: Today’s need for India

Privatization of rare earth mining: Today’s need for India

T. Srinivasagan
V.V. Mineral, Thisaiyanvilai, India

ABSTRACT: This paper highlights the importance of Rare Earths Mining in India. Monazite is the important ore and source of Rare Earth Elements (REE). The Monazite is abundant in India and found along the coast of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Monazite is found as placer deposit and deposited along with other associated heavy minerals viz. Ilmenite, Rutile, Garnet, Zircon, Leucoxene, Sillimanite etc. Although our country is blessed with more than 10.93 million tons of Monazite reserves, due to several constraints it is severely under utilized. The Monazite Mining/processing being a government monopoly, due to which REE being imported from China. Processing and Production of Monazite by private entities are not allowed in India due to co-occurence of prescribed substance Thorium. In view of the REE’s strategic application, heavy demand prevails for REE. Hybrid vehicles, Magnets, Rechargeable batteries, Catalytic Converters are few of the end uses of REE.

1. INTRODUCTION

Rare Earth Elements (REE) are a group of 17 Elements. These elements are moderately abundant in the earth’s crust, some even more abundant than copper, lead, gold and platinum. Some elements are more abundant than many other materials, because of their geochemical properties, REEs are typically dispersed; most of them are not concentrated enough to make them easily exploitable economically. It was the very scarcity of these minerals that led to the term as “rare earth”. There are 17 rare earth elements; 15 within the chemical group called lanthanides, plus yttrium and scandium. They are classified into two types i) Light Rare Earth Elements (LREE) (More Abundant) and ii) Heavy Rare Earth Elements (HREE) (Less Abundant).

          Fig. 1. Periodic table showing rare earth elements and rare metals.

1.1 Light rare earth elements
(a) Lanthanum (La)
(b) Cerium (Ce)
(c) Praseodymium (Pr)
(d) Neodymium (Nd)
(e) Promethium (Pm)
(f) Samarium (Sm).
1.2 Heavy rare earth elements
(a) Europium (Eu)
(b) Gadolinium (Gd)
(c) Terbium (Tb)
(d) Dysprosium (Dy)
(e) Holmium (Ho)
(f) Erbium (Er)
(g) Thulium (Tm)
(h) Ytterbium (Yb)
(i) Lutetium (Lu)

(j) Yttrium (Y)
(k) Scandium (Sc).

2. ABUNDANCE OF REE’S IN EARTH CRUST

Together the lanthanides, Yttrium and Scandium are commonly referred to as REE’s, although this is a misnomer since most of the REE’s are common mineral constituent as compared with other metal elements. The term “rare” is not due to availability, whereas due to the metallurgical process needed to isolate the individual metal species are complex and early technology prevented commodity-level production.

The abundance of REEs in the earth’s crust relative to other common metals is presented in Table 1.

TABLE I. Abundance of Elements in the Earth’s Crust

Elements Crustal Abundance (Parts per millions)
Nickel (28 Ni)

Zinc (30 Zn)

Copper (29 Cu)

Cerium (58 Ce)

Lanthanum(57La)

Cobalt (27Co)

Neodymium(60Nd)

Yttrium (39 Y)

Scandium (21Sc)

Lead (82Pb)

Praseodymium(59Pr)

Thorium (90Th)

Samarium (62 Sm)

Gadolinium (64 Gd)

Dysprosium (66 Dy)

Tin ( 50 Tn)

Erbium (68 Er)

Ytterbium (70 Yb)

Europium (63 Eu)

Holmium (67 Ho)

Terbium (65 Tb)

Lutetium (71 Lu)

Thulium (69 Tm)

Silver (47 Ag)

Gold (79 Au)

Promethium (61 Pm)

90

79

68

60

30

30

27.0

24.0

16.0

10

6.7

6

5.3

4.0

3.8

2.2

2.1

2.0

1.3

0.8

0.7

0.4

0.3

0.08

0.0031

10-18

* REE – Lanthanides, Scandium and Yttrium is presented in bold face type.

The major minerals of RE of commercial importance are presented in Table 2.

TABLE II.

Minerals Chemical Formula Countries of Origin Appx REO% Remarks
Bastnaesite (Ce, La)

FCO3

USA, China & Australia 75% Processing relatively simpler,  more content of Europium.

In China associated with Iron ore mining

Monazite (Ce, La, Th&U) PCO4 India, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, Thailand & Korea 65% Available in beach placer deposit. RE content more or less uniform. Contains Th&U which are radioactive.
Xenotime YPO4 Malaysia, China & India 60% Yttrium major constituent. In Malaysia associated with Tin Mining
Gadolinite (Ce, La, Nd,Y) Fe Be2 Si2 O10 USA 60% Source of Yttrium. Recovered as by-product from Bastnaesite.
Ion Exchange Clay Weathered Apatite & Xenotime ore concentrated China Unique deposits found only in southern China. Though less content of RE easier to concentrate. Rich source of Y, Eu, Tb & Dy.
Apatite Ca5 (PO4)(F, Cl, OH) CIS, South Africa 19% Occurs in Copper, Tin, Phosphate Mining
Loparite (Ce, La, Na, Ca, Sr) (Ti, Nb)O3 CIS 30% Contents above 40% Titania

I.    History of REE

From the 1960s until the 1980s, the United States was the world leader in REO productions. In fact, in 1984, the Mountain Pass Mine in California supplied 100 percent of US Demand and 33 percent of the world’s demand for rare earth. In the late 1970’s, China started increasing Production of REEs, and as illustrated in Figure 3.1, rapidly because the world’s dominant producer. Active mining Operations at Mountain Pass Mine were suspended in 2002. As REE production in the US has declined, China has become the world’s leading producer of REE’s and is currently responsible for more than 95 percent Global Production.

I. Major End Uses And Applications of REE

Currently the dominant end uses of Rare Earth Elements in the United States are for Automobile Catalysts and Petroleum Refining Catalysts, Use in Phosphors in Color Television and Flat Panel Displays (Cell phones, Portable DVDs and Laptops), Permanent Magnets and Rechargeable Batteries for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles and Numerous Medical Devices (See Table III). There are important Defense applications such as Jet Fighter Engines, Missile Guidance Systems, Antimissile Defense and Satellite and Communication Systems. Permanent Magnets containing Neodymium, Gadolinium, Dysprosium and Terbium (Nd Fe B magnets) are used in Numerous Electrical and Electronic components and New Generation Generators for Wind Turbines. About 75% of the Nd Fe B Permanent Magnet Production is concentrated in China. Another 22% is produced in Japan.

TABLE III. Rare Earth Elements – End Uses

Sl. no. REE Symbol End Uses
1 Scandium Sc Light aluminium-scandium alloys for aerospace components, additive in metal-handle lamps and mercury-vapor lamps, [4]radioactive tracing agent in oil refineries.
2 Yttrium Y Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (YAG) laser, yttrium vanadate (YVO4) as host europium in TV red phosphor, YBCO high-temperature superconductors, yttria-stabilized Zirconia (YSZ), yttrium iron garnet (YIG) microwave filters, energy-efficient light bulbs, spark plugs, gas mantles, additive to steel.
3 Lanthanum La High refractive index and alkali-resistant glass, flint, hydrogen storage, battery-electrodes, camera lenses, fluid catalytic cracking catalyst for oil refineries.
4 Cerium Ce Chemical oxidizing agent, polishing powder, yellow colors in glass and ceramics, catalyst for self-cleaning ovens, fluid catalytic cracking catalyst for oil refineries, ferrocerium flints for lighters.
5 Praseodymium Pr Rare earth magnets, lasers, core material for carbon arc lighting, colorant in glasses and enamels, additive in didymiumglass used in welding goggles  ferrocerium Firesteel (flint) products.
6 Neodymium Nd Rare-earth magnets, lasers, violet colors in glass and ceramics, didymium glass, ceramic capacitors.
7 Promethium Pm Nuclear batteries, luminous paint.
8 Samarium Sm Rare-earth magnets, lasers, neutron capture, masers.
9 Europium Eu Red and Blue phosphors, lasers, mercury-vapor lamps, fluorescent lamps, NMR relaxation agent.
10 Gadolinium Gd Rare-earth magnets, high refractive index glass or granites, lasers, x-ray tubes, computer memories, neutron capture, MRI contrast agent, NMR relaxation agent, magnetostrictive alloys such as Terfenol-D.
11 Terbium Tb Green phosphors, lasers, fluorescent lamps, magnetostrictive alloys such as Terfenol-D
12 Dysprosium Dy Rare-earth magnets, lasers, magnetostrictive alloys such as Terfenol-D
13 Holmium Ho Lasers, wavelength calibration standards for optical spectrophotometers, magnets
14 Erbium Er Infrared lasers, vanadium steel, fiber-optic technology
15 Thulium Tm Portable X-ray machines, metal-halide lamps, lasers
16 Ytterbium Yb Infrared lasers, chemical reducing agent, decoy flares, stainless steel, stress gauges, nuclear medicine
17 Lutetium Lu Positron emission tomography – PET scan detectors, high-refractive-index glass, lutetium tantalate hosts for phosphors.

II. Demand for Rare Earth Elements

The world demand for REE was estimated at 1,36,100 tons in 2010, with global production around 1,33,600 tpa.

III.             Rare Earth – World Reserves, Production & Consumption – 2015

TABLE IV. Country-wise Reserves, Production & Demand

Country Reserves(tons) (with % of total) Production (tpa)(with % of total) Global RE Demand (2010)
China

 

Brazil

 

Australia

India

 

United States

Malaysia

 

Thailand

Others, including Russia

550,00,000 (43.6%)

220,00,000 (17%)

32,00,000 (2.5%)

31,00,000 (2.5%)

 

18,00,000

(1.4%)

30,000 (0.025%)

 

NA

410,00,000 (32.5%)

 

1,05,000 (86.6%)

 

 

10,000 (8.2%)

0

 

4,100 (3.4%)

 

200 (0.2%)

 

2,000 (1.6%)

NA

China

 

Japan

 

Europe

 

 

US

 

Rest of Asia

54%

 

24%

 

10%

 

 

8%

 

4%

Total 1261,30,000 1,21,300    

Source – USGS 2016

From the above it is evident that the countries, Brazil and India are having surplus REE reserves they are not keen to produce any REE.

Following are the reasons for US to control their REE production

  1. Higher cost operations
  2. Environmental restrictions.

Following is the turn of events in the monazite sector during the last 107 years in India.

  1. Heavy mineral deposits of Manavalakuruchi in the state of Travancore (now Tamilnadu) were discovered by Schomberg, a German Scientist in 1909 which was proved richer and economical compared to rest of the world. Initially, the raw material itself was exported to other countries and later Mineral Separation Plants were set up and produced Ilmenite and Monazite were exported. After independence, the export of Monazite was restricted and hence a Processing Plant for Monazite was set up by M/s. Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IREL), PSU to produce Thorium Nitrate for Gas mantles and Rare Earths. Monazite contains 65% Rare Earths Oxides along with 9-10% thorium and 0.35% uranium.
  2. In 1965, all the closed down Mineral Separation Plants were acquired by IREL. Till 1998, the Beach Sand Mineral(BSM) mining operations other than Garnet and Sillimanite was with the Public Sector only.
  3. In 1998, Mining and Separation of all beach sand minerals other than Monazite were opened up to private sector in India by DAE.
  4. In 2002, Monazite processing was stopped by IREL due to Thorium storage bottlenecks and high production costs of REE by IREL.
  5. Mining policy, Environmental policy and Land Acquisition Bill of India are the bottlenecks for PSU regarding REE production.
  6. The present AMCR by Government of India aims at exploitation of the entire suite of beach sand minerals on the utility of thorium alone, which will have a negative impact on other beach sand minerals and also on titanium, zirconium and rare earth productions in India.
  7. Environmental restriction for handling and storing associated Thorium compounds.
  8. As per IAEA documents none of the countries in the world, other than India are planning for thorium based reactor.

 IV. REE Mines in operation

A.    Bastnaesite :

  1. China – Baiyan Obo & Sichman
  2. USA – Mt. Pass
  3. Vietnam – Dong Pao
  4. Australia – Dubbo Trachyte

B.    Monazite:

  1. China –  Guangdong
  2. Australia – Mount weld
  3. India –  IREL
  4. Malawi –  Kangankunde
  5. SA –   Zand kopsdrift, Steenkampskaal

C.    Xenotime:

  1. Brazil –  Ptinga
  2. Malaysia – Lahat Perak
  3. China –  Guangdong

D.    Apatite:

  1. China –  Nangang, Gangdong
  2. Australia – Nolaus Bore
  3. Canada – Hoidas Lake

E.    Eudialyte:

  1. Canada –  Zeus
  2. Greenland –  Steenstrupine

F.    Loparite:

  1. Russia –  Lovozersky

G.    Fergusonite:

  1. Canada –

V. Properties and Chemical Composition of the Mineral Monazite

Composition %
REEs as Re2 O3

P2O5

ThO2

CaO

S1O2

MgO

U3O8

Fe2 O3

Al2 O3

PbO

TiO2

ZrO2

59.37

27.03

8.88

1.24

1.0

0.63

0.35

0.32

0.12

0.18

0.36

0.49

  1. Honey Yellow to Golden yellow. Also pale yellow
  2. Specific Gravity – 4.6 – 5.47
  3. Crystal –  Monoclinic
  4. Hardness –  5 to 5.5 on Moh’s scale
  5. Bulk Density – 3200 kg/m3

 VI.   Conclusions

Based on the study, it is inferred that now is the suitable time for India to go for Private Sector Participation in Monazite Production and Processing considering the Rare Earths Market in the World, which is dominated by China.

A.    Radiological Safety in Processing of Monazite:

The radiological safety aspect to be covered in the processing of Monazite is very simple, when it is compared with operation of Nuclear Reactors. Due to the lesser composition (in PPM level) of radioactive elements in Monazite, the radiological safety standards can be easily achieved by the Private entities and the same can be regulated by the existing radiological safety regulatory authority viz. AERB. Appointment of Exclusive Radiological Safety Officer (RSO) deputed from DAE/AERB would make the system safer.

Already Private entities who are all involved in the processing of BSM facility are holding a valid license under Atomic Energy Radiation Protection Rule, 2004.

B.    Stacking and Handling of Thorium rich concentrate:

The present scale of Mining of Beach Sand Minerals (BSM) by private entity is about 10 lakh tpa. During the Process about 50 tons Thorium concentrate is expected. The system is very simple and with a few laid down procedures, stacking and handling Thorium concentrate can be easily achieved with the aid of the regulatory authority AERB.

C.    Change in policy

Heavy mineral deposits of Manavalakuruchi in the state of Travancore (now Tamilnadu) were discovered by Schomberg, a German Scientist in 1909 which was proved richer and economical compared to rest of the world. Interestingly, Mineral sands then mined from rich seasonal Beach washings for only one mineral, i.e. Monazite, which produce incandescence by infusing the paraffin mantle in a solution of thorium and cerium compounds, lost its worth due to arrival of filament lamp. During 1947, Indian first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru exercised control (not banned, but restrictions) over the export of Monazite and Thorium Nitrate. However, in 1995 DAE issued a gazette notification, listing prescribed substances, including Monazite, that are subject to export licensing by the DAE.

Here it is important to mention that in 1947, India exercised control over export of Monazite “not merely a financial matter, it has international implication”.

The mineral Monazite is utilized for only commercial purpose only and not for any strategic purpose. Also, as per IAEA documents, about the national nuclear programs of different countries, does not give any indication that any country, is planning significant use of thorium either in the reactors currently under operation as also in the near future.

Thus, it is the right time for DAE to allow Private entities to Produce and Process Monazite mineral for meeting the increased demand for Rare Earths in the world with stipulations regarding safety and misuse of Thorium and Uranium.

The additional REE available by opening up will pave way for the development of downstream industries in India using REEs as the raw material which will have additional financial as well as strategic implications.

References

  • US Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2016.
  • Latest Scenario in Rare Earth and Atomic Minerals in India, Dr. R. N. Patra, CMD, Indian Rare Earths Ltd.
  • Rare Earth Elements: A Review of Production, Processing, Recycling and Associated Environmental Issues, 2012, Engineering Technical Support Centre, Cincinnati, OH.
  • Rare Earth Elements: The Global Supply chain, 2013, Marc Humphries.
  • India’s Rare Earths Industry – A case of Missed Opportunities, S.Chandrasekar& Lalitha Sundaresan.
  • The Process of Mining REEs and other Strategic Elements.
  • Extractive Metallurgy of Rare Earths, Nagaiyar Krishnamurthy and Chiranjib Kumar Gupta

Privatization of REE – By Mr.Srinivasan