Every mineral separation units will have one Radiological Safety Officer (RSO). The terms and conditions imposed by Central Government will be implemented by them. Every ports having the scanner to find out whether any radioactive materials are imported or exported either directly or blended with other minerals. If any materials are found, immediately, the consignment will be detained and the concerned persons will face legal action. Moreover all the countries are restricting import of radioactive materials within their country. Even for transportation of radioactive material specialized vessels and packing systems are required. So the radioactive material cannot be exported. Keeping of Digital Contamination monitor is mandatory to all the lessees which will find out the radiation level and if the level is above the permitted level automatically it will make alarm.
BMPA was founded in 1995. Since its inception, it has brought together major producers of the beach minerals industry in the country, and worked tirelessly to help the Indian beach mining industry realise its full potential.
BMPA is a Society registered under Society Registration Act, accredited by the Quality Council of India, that works solely for the purpose of uplifting the beach minerals industry in India in a sustainable manner. With its various members, the BMPA strives to help the industry advance through technology, employment, contribution to the economy as well as local communities.
Beach mineral mining is the most environment friendly of all mining practices. The minerals are replenishable, and the mining is done manually with the simplest equipment such as shovels and spades. There is absolutely no water, sand or noise pollution. Even the processing is ecologically safe, using methods such as sun-drying and dry separation that require neither excessive energy nor chemicals. Truly speaking this is not a mining. But harvesting / collection of naturally deposited replenishable minerals.
No. It is easier than agriculture activities. The collection of beach minerals requires only manual scooping of beach deposits by using spades and baskets. It will be replenished within a short span by wind and wave action. There is no change to the mining site. There is no need to use heavy earth moving machineries, blasting, bore holing or any type of chemicals. Only loaders and trucks are used for loading and transportation of the manually collected minerals. After recovering, the heavy minerals, the waste silica is transported back to the mining area for back filling and reclamation. To ensure the same, Govt., of India, obtained bank guarantee from the lessees. Unless it is not complied, Indian Bureau of Mines will do the same at the lessees cost by using the bank guarantee. Till today, there is no sea erosion in any of the beach mineral mining area as, it is accretion process.
Beach minerals are extremely safe in all stages of collection and processing. This beach mineral contain traces of monazite. Only monazite contains very trace quantities of uranium and thorium, which is negligible. All the beach minerals are safe and of indispensable use in daily life. From the date inception, no employee or their family members affected by any type of mining related or radiation related diseases.
River sand mining is entirely different from beach mineral mining. While river sand mining causes some damage to the river bed, lower the ground water table and promotes erosion. Beach mineral mining has virtually no ill effects. The sand level is undisturbed as refilling is actively carried out, and the natural ecological balance is maintained. Minerals get deposited in this first layer of beach deposits alone collected. Moreover, after the minerals get separated from the beach deposits, the residual sand is taken back to the mined area and backfilled. Whereas in river sand mining the mined sand is used for construction etc., River sand mining needs limited number of approvals from the government. Beach sand mining needs approval from around 28 departments to operate, which would take nearly 2856 days. River sand mining is supervised only by PWD and State Geology and Mining Department. Whereas, beach sand mining is supervised by 9 Central Govt., departments and 7 State Govt., departments.
To obtain a mining license for beach minerals, applications have to be processed by various governmental departments at the district, state and national levels. Once Central Govt., approves the application, again the applicant has to get environmental clearance and public hearing and licenses from various Central Govt., departments. The procedure for getting mining is available in detail in “The Minerals (other than Atomic and Hydro Carbon Energy Minerals) Concession Rules, 2016” and “Atomic Mineral Concession Rules, 2016”.
The beach minerals contain only traces of monazite which comes under the category of Naturally Occurred Radioactive Materials (NORM). The monazite is a rejected tailings. If monazite is processed, then only the issue of radiation will arise. Monazite cannot be processed by private parties except Atomic Energy Department. Hence the question of radioactivity does not arise in the beach mineral mining or mineral separation. That is why till today no employee or their family member affected by any one of the radiation related diseases.
No private party can mine monazite. Monazite is available even in the ordinary sand, rock and other building materials. Just like that, traces of monazite are available along with beach sand. When the heavy minerals are separated, the waste sand tailings which contain traces of monazite will be transported to the mining site for back filling. As per AERB's guidelines, if these tailings contain <5% of Monazite, they have to be mixed and dumped in the mining pits for refilling. If they contain >5% of Monazite content, then they should be stored in trenches and topped up with silica rich sand to bring down the radiation level. The monazite tailings will be separated in the Mineral Separation Plant will be separately stored in an isolated place with lock and key system under the institutional control of Atomic Energy Department. That is their property and they will visit and confirm the quantity and radiation etc.