“Thorium” and the caption “Nuclear Mine Field”

1. This has reference to an article authored and posted by one Shri Srinivasan Kalyanaraman on the blog http://www.thecitizen.in/News Detail.aspx? under the labels: “Thorium” and the caption “Nuclear Mine Field”: Jaya Government breaks rules to allow private mining of Atomic Minerals. The author has invited comment on the contents of the article.
2. In deference to his wishes I would like to offer my detailed comments.
3. Before delving at length into the details, I wish to introduce myself as Dr.T.Anitha, a pro-active Environmental Bio-technologist possessing post-graduate degree and doctorate in Environmental Bio-technology and has good many years of experience in this field. Besides, having been associated with this fascinating field I am very well acquainted and conversant with the statutory provisions of Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulations) Act 1957, the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 1988, Atomic Energy Act and Rules 1962 also. Further more, I have a good collection of various circulars and executive instructions issued by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India and the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. Therefore, with the above mentioned background knowledge that I have possessed in this field, when I went through the contents of the article I was utterly disappointed and distraught over many parts of the contents of the said article which are full of factual errors and misinformation. Many of the interpretations of the author expressed in his article only the expose his ignorance or his shallow depth of knowledge in respect of chemical composition of ‘Monazite’, statutory provisions of Mines and Minerals Act and Rules and the circulars of the concerned Departments of Government of India issued from time to time governing the grant of mining leases and the regulatory measures in respect of “beach sand minerals”.
4. With reference to the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulations) Act 1957, the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 and the circulars of Ministry of Mines, Atomic Energy Department of Government of India issued at different appropriate point of time keeping in view the changing need and demand of the situation, the article , per-se lacks material facts. In this context it may not be out of place to mention that I have been watching with curiosity in the past several months that some incorrect and distorted information are doing around in the social media, some news papers, weeklies, etc., about “beach sands” regarding their occurrence, mining and the like. At all those times I did not venture to intervene to reply to those distorted facts for obvious reasons that professional rivalry in this field plays a dominant role in decimating totally this vital ‘mining sector’ itself. Now I have a valid reason to step to offer my comment since this article has addressed as “NaMo, stop the Monazite loot from Tamil Nadu and AP Scrap DAE 18, June, 2006 illegal notification allowing OGL for Atomic Minerals”. Before the authorities in the “power that be” upfront get carried away by the contents of the article which I hope they will not do so in haste I consider it my sacred duty to put the whole gamut of this matter in proper perspective and guide the course of action in proper direction to the best of my conscience and ability.
5. I can say, for certain, that some misguided elements are out in public to disseminate and propagate misguided and false information about this vital mining sector unmindful of what kind of damage that it is likely to cause if the mineral is not put into proper and timely use. Further, it is bound to cause collateral damage and double wham my both to the economy of the country as well as mining sector itself which provides employment opportunities in good numbers to several thousands of skilled, semi skilled and other category of workers both in the mines and the mineral processing units. Therefore, it is the duty of all fair minded persons to stem the spread of this ‘virus and menace’ which will spell disaster.
6. To substantiate my above comment that the article contains misinformation and distorted facts it is my duty to point out that the title itself is erroneous for the reason that the State Government, irrespective of who is at the helm of affairs, has no unilateral statutory powers independent of the parent Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957 and the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 which are all enacted only by the Parliament and have come into force with the assent of His Excellency, the President of India in respect of all types of “Major minerals” listed in the said Act. However, the State Governments are empowered under section 15 of the said Act to frame and enact their own independent rules only in respect of ‘minor minerals’ such as river sand, gravel blue metal, granites, etc. etc. Adverting to nuclear mine field in particular as reported in the said article, it is informed that State Government of Tamil Nadu under any Chief Minister cannot break rules and allow private mining of Atomic Minerals on their own without following the Act and Rules and the guidelines issued by the Dept. of Atomic Energy and AERB. This is applicable to all State Governments functioning under the Union of India except Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, whatever mining leases that are being granted they are granted only with the prior approval and concurrence of the concerned Departments and the Ministry of Government of India.
7. Regarding mining of ‘Monazite’ in particular I expatiate as follows upon the correct position with regard to Government of India policy on mining of beach minerals containing ‘prescribed substances and monazite’, the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India has announced its Policy Resolution on exploitation of Beach sand minerals vide its circular No.8/1(i)/97-PSU dated 06.10.1998 and published the same in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary dated 16.10.1998, Part I , Section 1 contents of which are extracted below:
“India has large reserves of beach sand minerals in the coastal stretches around the country. Ilmenite is the largest constituent of the Indian deposits, others being Rutile, Leucoxene, zircon, sillimanite, garnet and monazite. The minerals other than garnet and sillimanite, have been classified as ‘prescribed substances’ under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962”.
“Under the Industrial policy statement of 1991, the mining and production of minerals classified as ‘prescribed substances’ is reserved for the public sector”.
“Considering the growing demand for these minerals and/or their value added products in the domestic as well as international markets and the potential available in the country, setting up of new plants for exploitation of these deposits in fresh locations would be in the interest of the country. Production of various value-added products of these minerals, is, however, highly capital intensive and it may not be possible for only the PSUS (both Central and Stated owned) operating in this filed to set up the new plants on their own. It is, therefore, necessary to allow the private sector to set up such plants within the frame work of some broad guidelines”.
“In view of the background explained above, Government of India has recently approved a policy to encourage further exploitation of these mineral deposits through a judicious mix of public and private participations (including foreign investments)”.
“The other objectives of the policy are maximization of value addition to the raw minerals within the country, up-gradation of the existing process technologies to international standards, attracting funds and new technology necessary for this purpose through participation of the private sector (domestic and foreign) appropriate disposal of the new production facilities with an eye on regional balance and regulating the rate of exploitation reserves last for about hundred years without, of course, adversely affecting the investors’ techno-economic considerations.”
8. In consonance with the above declared revised policy of the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, it is informed that exploitation of “prescribed substances” including that of ‘Monazite’ has been thrown open to private participation and production and disposal of Monazite, in particular, has been permitted under private sector also since 1998 in accordance with the instructions/directives of AERB.
9. Therefore, it is needless to explain that there is no prohibition or ban on production and disposal of Monazite also by private entities. The only requirement is obtaining proper license from the competent authority. This policy decision has been taken by the concerned Department of Atomic Energy consciously keeping all aspects of “Monazite’ in mind.
10. In respect of Monazite, as per the advice of DAE, Govt., of India implemented Rule 66A a special provisions relating to atomic minerals envisioned in the Rule 66A of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960. Hence the Beach Mineral mining lessee has to follow Rule 66A only in respect of Atomic Minerals including Monazite. Since monazite also associated with beach minerals, license from AERB is required only for production and disposal of monazite since the mineral monazite already occurs in association with other minerals in the beach sand and the agglomerated beach sand has been already mined with the valid licence for other substances contained in the beach sand.
11. Further, the requirement is that the BSM facilities have to get license from Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
12. It is mandatory that all the existing beach sand minerals facilities carrying out mineral processing of beach sand minerals (physical separation and/or chemical processing) are required to obtain licence under rule 3 of the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules of 2004 from the AERB.
13. Further more, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India has, as early as 2000 itself, issued a letter D.O.No.7/3(ii)/2000-PSU/537, dated 08.05.2000 of the Officer on special Duty, Department of Atomic Energy, Mumbai addressed to the Director, Department of Geology and Mining, Guindy, Chennai-600 032 wherein it has been mentioned, inter alia, that
“prior to issue of the Resolution of 06.10.1998 a policy of exploitation of beach sand minerals, only public sector undertakings of the Government of India/State Governments were authorized to produce and sell minerals like ilmenite, Rutile, zircon, etc., which have been declared as prescribed substances under the Atomic Energy Act. It was, in this context, that ‘No Objection Certificates’ were issued from this Department to garnet producers. “After issue of the Notification dated 06.10.1998, it is permissible for Indian owned companies also to produce and sell minerals like ilmenite, zircon, etc., with the introduction of the new policy in October, 1998, some companies who have earlier obtained ‘No Objection Certificates’ for production and sale of garnet applied to this Department seeking licence for production and sale of ilmenite also accordingly, licences were issued to the companies. Therefore, now they need not have to handover the ‘tailings’ to IREL. This Department has no objection for those companies utilizing the accumulated tailings for production of Ilmenite, etc., and sell thereof, subject to satisfying the quantities indicated in the licences by them”.
14. In the same year the Ministry of Mines, Government of India has circulated another letter to the Director of Geology and Mining, Guindy, Chennai-600 032 vide No.7(30)/2000-11/IV, dated 16.08.2000 with regard to production of ‘atomic minerals” wherein it has been clarified among other things as follows:
…………. In the view of Department of Atomic Energy, there is no need for separate mining lease for beach minerals occurring naturally with garnet. It may be noted that Rule 66-A of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 which deals with mining of Atomic minerals by holder of mining lease for major minerals Rule 66A read with Rule 27(1)(b) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 clearly prescribes that in the case of atomic minerals, the inclusion of atomic minerals in the mining lease is not required…………” This clarification of the Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India answers and thwarts all the evil designs of the author and the associates.
15. Further, as regards special provisions relating to Atomic Minerals such as Monazite as enshrined in sub rules (i)&(ii) of Rule 66-A(1) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 there is no bar on the part of a holder of mining lessee for major minerals to win and dispose of atomic minerals found associated with the other minerals for which mining lease has already been obtained subject to the conditions stipulated therein.
16. Shri.Srinivasan Kalyanaraman is obviously not aware of the procedure enunciated in the Rule 22(1) of the Mineral Concessions Rules, 1960 wherein seekers of a mining lease for all types of major minerals in any land shall make an application only to the State Government through the District Collector concerned as per sub rule (4) of the said rule 22 of the Mineral Concessions Rules, 1960, the State Government alone shall take a statutory decision to grant or refuse to grant a mining lease. This is the unambiguously clear statutory power conferred upon the State Governments by the Central Government through the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957 and the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960. However, in respect of certain category of minerals listed in the First Schedule, prior approval of the Central Government is required. Even then, the mining lease granting power is vested only with the State Governments. It is advisable that Shri. Srinivasan Kalyanaraman is requested to visit the relevant provisions of the Acts and rules governing granting of mining leases and other regulatory measures keep himself abreast of the statutory provisions in force.
17. From the above illustration of facts, it may be discerned that all mis-information and distorted facts presented in the pretext of an article are thus put at rest and nought.
18. Shri. Srinivasan Kalyanaraman is requested to get to know that the nomenclature of ‘prescribed substances’ has been deleted by the Department of Atomic Energy vide Notification dated 20-01-2006 and the nomenclature of the prescribed substances ceases to exist since then and consequently there are no prescribed substances as such now.
19. Regarding fixation of royalty for “Monazite”, it is informed that only Ministry of Mines, Government of India can fix royalty once in three years as per sub section(3) of section 9 of Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957 . The State Governments have no statutory powers to fix royalty arbitrarily for any major minerals on their own. In fact, only the Ministry of Mines, Government of India has fixed Rs.125 per Tonne as royalty for ‘Monazite’ and all the State Governments have to follow that rate of royalty only scrupulously. Thiru.S.Kalyanaraman is therefore invited to go through Sl.No.30 of the Schedule II of MMDR Act, 1957 .
20. Shri. Srinivasan Kalyanaraman has not furnished correct information regarding composition of Monazite. He has equated ‘Monazite’ with an ore of “Uranium”. Shri.Srinivasan kaylanaraman is requested to verify from the text book on ‘Mineralogy’ by “Dana” which is acclaimed as the best reference text book on ‘Mineralogy’ prescribed in the colleges offering geology course.
21. In the said book it has been mentioned that ‘Monazite’ is the chief source of ‘Thorium Oxide’ which is used in the manufacture of “incandescent gas light mantles” whereas “Uranium” belongs to an entirely different ‘Uranite Group’ which is a phosphate of cerium metals with essentially contain Ce, La, Di, Po4 and thus each one belongs to different group of ores. It is considered pertinent to inform that the Govt. of Tamil Nadu vie its G.O.Ms.No.288 dated 18-01-1961 Dept. of Industries, Labour and Co-operation has sanctioned the grant to M/s.Palcorporation (Pvt) Ltd , No.71, Amman Sannadhi street, Madurai to mine ‘Uranium’ among other minerals , for a period of 20 years over an extent of 70.78 acres in S.Nos.116, 121, 122, 123/1 and 2, 124, 125, 126/1, 127/2, 128/1, 129/1 and 132 in Panamoopanpatti village, Thirumangalam Taluk, Madurai district . The said company had been subsequently permitted to sell ‘Uranium’ to foreign countries by the Dept. of atomic Energy vide their letter No.7(1)(29)/99-PSU/512 dated 22.5.2001 on a specific request and application made by the said company to the Dept. It may be noted here that ‘Uranium’ is more potential nuclear and radio-active mineral than ‘Thorium’ content ‘Monazite’ and that high potency radio-active nuclear mineral itself had been permitted to be sold to a private company by the Department of Atomic Energy.
22. It is pertinent to point out here that even M/s.Indian Rare Earths Limited exports monazite only to private parties in other countries.
23. This factual information, I am sure will dispel the scare and misapprehensions created regarding mining and disposal of ‘Monazite’ by private lessees in Tamil Nadu.
24. In the said article Shri Srinivasan Kalyanaraman has reported that the Department of Geology and Mining has granted 16 licences in 2012-2013 allowing private companies to mine atomic mineral ‘Monazite’. Since he has not furnished the list of those 16 licences, I am unable to offer specific comments on each of them. However, I can offer a generalised comment by which I may state that if all 16 licences are already in possession of individual mining leases for other types of major minerals, there is no statutory bar to cause inclusion of ‘Monazite’ also in their existing mining leases as per rule 66-A of the Mineral Concessions Rule, 1960 and also in accordance with the several clarifications and executive instructions given by the Department of Atomic Energy as well as the Ministry of Mines, Government of India in this regard. No separate approval is necessary but only a licence from the AERB for disposal of monazite is required as per AERB guidelines and instructions. In such already existing mining leases, inclusion of any additional mineral including ‘Monazite’ can be absolutely statutorily allowed by the competent authority of the State Governments and there is no illegality in this regard. But actual disposal of Monazite shall be done only in accordance with the direction of AERB. Therefore, inclusion of monazite in the existing mining lease may be ordered by the competent authority of the State Govt. with the imposition of a special condition to obtain a license from AERB before disposal of monazite.
25. As for other contents of this article such as submission of an affidavit by the Department of Atomic Energy in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in 2013 related to a case by some private company, I would like to state that I have no comments to offer as I am not concerned with those matters and the matter is sub-judice.
General observation and conclusion
a) Once again I would like to state the whole article put up on the blog by Shri.Srinivasa Kalyanaraman contains factual errors and misleading information.
b) It is quite unfortunate that, of late . some people in Tamilnadu have been painting a bad picture about beach sand mining in toto and the functions of the State Govt. in this regard in Tamil Nadu alone . I fail to understand as to why these people have been keeping silence when similar beach sand mining has been permitted in the coastal areas of the states of Orissa, Kerala and Maharashtra, etc., by the respective state governments to private parties.
c) I am sanguine that this reply of mine may at least now throw some light and bring out revelations on what is envisioned in the statutory provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act, 1957 and the existing the Policy of beach sand mining with particular reference to the prescribed substances and monazite thereby setting right the perceptions set in motion in the public by some people.
d) The beach sand minerals ‘as its name itself implies are unique in their occurrence confining to a few coastal zones of the States of Kerala, Orissa, AP, Maharashtra and Gujarat some extent. If these replenishable deposits are not allowed to be exploited at proper time, this will remain unutilised or misused by the locals for construction and other inferior purpose or it will be drawn back to the ocean bed itself by wave action without being available for use in the mineral based industries as well export to foreign countries. Therefore, it is irrational to oppose for the sake of opposing what is better for the progress, prosperity and industrial development of this country at large.
Link :

FACTS ABOUT MONAZITE OCCURRENCE, RECOVERY, DISPOSAL & GOVERNING THEIR HANDLING.

  1. BACKGROUND:

The Beach Sand Minerals [BSM], also called as “Placer Minerals” are classified Geologically as secondary deposits and formed & distributed by the combined action of Ocean currents & strong coastal winds. They are found distributed in parts of Odhisa, Seemandhra, Tamilnadu coasts in the East and Kerala & Maharashtra in the West coast of our country. Depending on the Primary deposits, the minerals content in the beach sand minerals vary. Generally, the sands comprises an assemblage of 6/7 minerals such as – Garnet, Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Sillimanite, Leucoxene[ brown Ilmenite] and Monazite. The monazite content, being genetically associated with Ilmenite, varies from 0.03- 0.08 % in Tamil Nadu coast & 0.08- 2.18% in Kerala coast.

 

Monazite is a phosphate of Cerium & Yettrium and is the main source of Thorium & Cerium. It contains 7.0- 8.5% of Th02. It is mildly radio-active.

 

II.POLICY ON BSM EXPLOITATION:

 

India possesses the World’s largest reserves of Beach sand Minerals, but yet its exploitation is very low [5-6%], when compared to USA, Australia & S. Africa, having only 11- 12% of World’s reserves have an exploitation of over 25%.  Till early 90’s only Public Sector undertakings were permitted to exploit the beach sand minerals, which was very limited. In order to overcome this constraint, the Govt., of India had notified a policy resolution no. 8(1)/ 97-PSU/1422 dated 6th October, 1988, which allows participation of private sector with or without foreign collaboration in the exploitation of beach sand minerals.

 

 

The minerals such as Ilmenite, Rutile & Leucoxene, which were earlier grouped as “Prescribed substances”, were delisted by the Department of Atomic Energy vide notification no. S.O 61 [E] dated 20.01.2006, which was made effective from the date of amendment of MMDR Act by the Mines Ministry from 1st January, 2007, whichever occurs earlier.

 

III. PRESENT STATUS:

 

After the relaxation of the policy on beach sand minerals exploitation, the private sector involvement in beach sand mining & minerals processing has witnessed tremendous development in the development of Infrastructure, generation of employment opportunities, increase in productivity, Foreign exchange earnings etc.,

 

 

  1. GRANT OF MINING LEASES:

 

As per Rule 69, of the Mineral Concession Rules,1960, the minerals Ilmenite, Monazite, Zircon, Rutile, Garnet and Sillimanite are grouped as associated minerals for purposes of Section 6 of the MMDR Act, 1957. The State Government is empowered by the Act to grant leases for all minerals except Mineral oil and coal. In respect of atomic minerals,  the State Government, after securing the approval of the Govt., of India, will grant the mining leases.

 

Hence the statement that under the MMDR Act, permission to mine all beach sand minerals can be issued only by the Centre and not by the State Governments is totally wrong. Either it has been made due to lack of understanding of the Act & the Rules or in a biased manner.

 

 

  1. REGULATIONS & PROCEDURES:

 

All the Beach Sand Mineral [BSM] producers have to secure a licence under the Atomic Energy [Radiation Protection] Rules, 2004 for all their mineral processing facilities from the Atomic Energy Board {AERB}, Mumbai, who inspect the units annually.

 

The AERB makes annual inspections of all the facilities, mines & refilled pits. They carry out,

 

[i] Measuring the % of Monazite in the raw sand from the mines;

[ii] Monitoring Air quality & Radiation levels in the units; stockpiles;

mine sites & refilled pits.

[iii] Waste disposal/ Silica tailings records.

[iv] Dose calculation records.

[v] Instruments calibration.

 

Each mineral processing unit is instructed to have 3/ 4 well executives, trained by the AERB for  Radiological monitoring in the processing plants, maintenance of records, safe disposal of monazite rich tailings as per the guidelines of the AERB and educate the Staff & workers in handling monazite rich tailings.

 

  1. DISPOSAL OF MONAZITE:

 

             Monazite, being non-magnetic & non- conductive, the bulk of it gets separated with silica tailings in the pre-concentration[initial] stage itself. Minor quantities associated with Ilmenite & Garnet get separated in the respective units. As per the AERB’s guideline, if these Silica tailings contain < 5% of Monazite they have to be mixed and dumped in the mining pits for refilling. If the Monazite content is > 5%, but the quantity of tailings generated is comparatively less, then it has to be stored in trenches & topped with silica rich sand to bring down the radiation level to the background level. All the lessees, are complying the same and store the monazite accordingly.

 

Item 4[f] of the Resolution of the DAE, Mumbai dated 6th October,1998 [ published in the GOI Gazette Ext ordinary, dated 16.10.1998] reads as follows—

 

“If Monazite is produced in the process of exploitation of Beach sand Minerals, such Monazite shall be disposed of by the entity concerned at its cost, in accordance with the instructions of the AERB.”

 

The DAE in their letter no: 4/5 [3] 2008- PSU /2474 dated 08.04.2008 have stated that Monazite & other prescribed substances can be mined & handled by the Indian companies after securing a licence from the DAE. Mining leases are granted by the State Governments.

 

The Govt.,of Tamil Nadu have granted a mining lease to a private firm in Madurai for Uranium associated with Graphite, Quartz & Feldspar in January,1961 with the prior consent of the Ministry of Mines and the Dept.,of  Atomic Energy also agree for the grant.

 

These references will clearly show that the State Governments are empowered to grant mining leases for all prescribed minerals including Monazite with the prior approval of the Govt.,of India. There is no violation or deviation from the provisions of the MMDR Act & the MCR.

 

There is no necessity to handover the Monazite rich tailings to the IREL or AERB once in three months as reported.

 

Thus no private lessee is attempting to recover the Monazite because of its very low % in the sand; strict surveillance and radiation hazards. Any allegation that the private operators are illegally exporting Monazite has no basis. Being radio-active, none will risk in handling large consignments. Equally no country would be keen to import, when they are fully aware of environmental hazards. Moreover India lacks in the latest technology to extract ‘Rare Earths’ as well as use them in the manufacture of high end machines.

 

It may pertinent to mention two Official letters –

 

  1. The VOC Port Trust, Tuticorin, on 8th April, 2013 have stated that “ No ship has previously arrived to V.O. Chidambaranar Port for export of minerals Uranium, Thorium and Monazite”.

 

  1. The Secretary to the Govt., of Tamil Nadu, Industries department in his letter dt. 24.11.2004 to the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Mines, N.Delhi, has also confirmed that, no monazite is either legally or unauthorisedly moved out of this country.

 

Therefore there is no semblance of chance of any Monazite being taken out of this country by any means by anybody.

 

The above letters will prove beyond any doubt about the status of Monazite export.

 

The following two statements made in the blog need rebuttal.

 

[a]  The Govt., of Tamil Nadu have issued mining licences to private companies for mining Monazite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are no mining leases exclusively for Monazite. It might have been included as an ‘associated mineral’ in the leases already granted for Garnet or/ & Ilmenite, with the consent of the Ministry of Mines, N. Delhi.

 

[b] The State Govt., have fixed a Royalty of Rs.125/- per tonne for Monazite.

 

Royalty is being fixed under the MMDR Act by the Parliament only. As per Sec 9 (1) of the Act, it is payable only when the mineral is removed from the lease area either for sale or for use in captive industry. Hence there is no truth in the statement that the royalty for Monazite has been fixed by the TN Govt.,

 

The report has been attempted without verifying the ground truths; lack of understanding of the provisions of the Act & the Rules, besides quoting a few retired Officials’ observations out of context. The report seems to be made in haste and in a prejudicial manner to damage the fair name of the Govt., of Tamil Nadu and highly motivated to bring down the reputation of the mining lessees of BSM in the State purely borne out of ill will & business rivalry.

 

There have been no violations in the handling of the Monazite in Tamil Nadu. The present enquiry initiated by the State Govt., has nothing to do with the recovery or export of Monazite.

 

The joint inspection of the mining leases of beach Sand minerals and various records by a team of Officials of the Indian

Bureau of Mines, Atomic Minerals Division & the Department of Geology & Mining, Tamil Nadu during June, 2009, has revealed that there have been no violations and deviations in the observations of the ACT & the Rules.

 

 In conclusion, the allegations of large scale exploitation and export of Monazite for its Thorium content are fictitious and are made to create a negative impact and as a sensational news in the media.

Beach mining industry in distress

The federation of beach mineral producers’ assoc­i­ati­on has appealed to the government to lift the ban on mining imposed a few months ago following alle­ga­tions of malpractices.

T. Paul Raja, convener, Federation of Beach Mineral Producers’ Associations, addressing the media in Chennai on Monday. He is seen here flanked by federation members Thangaraj (left) and Srinivasan. — DC
T. Paul Raja, convener, Federation of Beach Mineral Producers’ Associations, addressing the media in Chennai on Monday. He is seen here flanked by federation members Thangaraj (left) and Srinivasan. — DC

Chennai: The federation of beach mineral producers’ assoc­i­ati­on has appealed to the government to lift the ban on mining imposed a few months ago following alle­ga­tions of malpractices. Continue reading “Beach mining industry in distress”

Plea to lift beach sand mining ban

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Representatives of various industries’ association from southern districts on Tuesday appealed to chief minister Jayalalithaa to lift the suspension of beach sand mining in Tut­icorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts as it derailed the livelihood of over 50,000 families with breadwinners losing jobs. The association also sought an appointment with CM to explain their plight.

“We welcome the government decision to survey the mines to find out any violations or illegal beach mining. The companies involved in irregularities can be pena­lised but closing down the entire industry has affected the lives of poor coastal communities,” convener Paul Raja of Tirunelveli-Tuticorin Small and Medium Industries Association told reporters here. He insisted that there were no violations of any mining rules and the companies were open for probe.

Paul Raja said suspension of mining had, apart from thousands of workers losing jobs, also resulted in the mining firms defaulting on their deliveries to foreign buyers and consequently facing fines.

Worse still, these long-time clients could migrate to suppliers in other countries. “Apart from our mining companies losing export contracts, the huge foreign exchange inflow too would collapse. The damage could be irrever­sible,” he pointed out.

Beach Minerals Prod­ucers’ Associations secretary K. Thangaraj said mining firms had so far incurred losses of Rs 800-1,000 crore due to suspension of mining.

About 50,000 tonnes of beach sand was being mined in a month by 22 companies. Asked about a charge that beach sand mining affected fishing in the area, he said the units did not use any chemical to separate the minerals from beach sand.

“We use magnets to separate the minerals from the mined sand. There has been no degradation of coastal areas,” he said, insisting that the miners had not indu­lged in irregularties.

Source : http://www.beachminerals.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=140&action=edit

TN ban on mineral sand mining hits downstream industries

R. BALAJI

 CHENNAI, SEPT. 22:  

Over half a dozen downstream companies will be impacted by the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to halt mineral sand mining pending an enquiry into allegations of illegal exploitation of the resource.

According to the Mineral Welfare Association representing the industry workers, the ban on mining of beach sand in Tuticorin and Tirunelveli announced by the State Government on September 17 also affects the livelihood of 30,000 families and logistics operations in the Tuticorin Port.

The beach sand is a source of ilmenite and rutile – raw materials for making titanium and titanium dioxide – and garnet used in high-end abrasives. Industrial activity relating to sand blasting, ceramics, paint, cosmetics and welding will be affected by the ban on beach sand mining, according to the association.

Seven industrial units – DCW Ltd, Kilburn Chemicals, Kolmak Chemicals Ltd, Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd, Thiruvancore Titanium, Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd and Bala Murugan Chemicals – are dependent on the raw materials, the Association said.

In a representation to the State Government it urged mining to be allowed while investigations continue. If there are irregularities, the companies may then be penalised.

Another option would be to carry out the inspection in one district at a time while allowing others to operate.

Over 1,500 trucks are used for transporting the ore. The operations of the logistics services providers will also be hit by the month-long ban, the association said.

According to the Association, there are over 20 mining companies and lease holders involved in mineral sand mining over an area of 2,300 acres they own and 590 acres of Government land taken on lease. Even the licensed activities have been affected by the ban.

The industry is a strongly regulated one with every truck load of ore needing a permit before it can be moved.

 

(This article was published on September 22, 2013)

Source :-    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/tn-ban-on-mineral-sand-mining-hits-downstream-industries/article5157258.ece