Mines Ministry to discuss threshold value on heavy minerals
Jul 05 2016
“Mines Ministry will take up the issue of TLV on beach sand minerals (BSM) with the industry over the demand that it has made on the provisions of the draft Atomic Mineral Concession Rules 2016 at the national mines and minerals conclave in Raipur tomorrow,” a senior government official said.
Mines Ministry will today take up the issue of threshold limit value (TLV) on beach sand minerals or heavy minerals, which the mining industry says can adversely impact the companies if implemented. “Mines Ministry will take up the issue of TLV on beach sand minerals (BSM) with the industry over the demand that it has made on the provisions of the draft Atomic Mineral Concession Rules 2016 at the national mines and minerals conclave in Raipur tomorrow,” a senior government official said.
The draft rules proposes to reserve all BSM deposits containing more than 0.75 percent monazite in the THM (Total Heavy Minerals) for government-owned corporations. Even for already operating mines, if it is found that the monazite content is above the fixed TLV, the lease will be terminated.
An official with a private miner said: “This provision will reserve almost more than 75 percent of the explored reserves to government sector, which will have a huge adverse impact on the BSM industry and the BSM mining situation will go back by twenty years, reverting the production to reserve ratio to 0.001 percent prevalent in the 1990s.”
The industry is demanding that the TLV may be fixed as 5 percent in THM or 2 percent in the deposit and the termination clause be totally removed. If required, suitable safeguards may be implemented by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), like having a conservation policy for monazite.
Beach sand mining generally includes ilmenite, rutile, zircon, garnet, monazite, leucoxene and sillimanite.
Most of these minerals occur together but their individual contents varying from deposit to deposit, with the major mineral in most deposits being ilmenite.
The government has earlier said that five states — Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu — have heavy minerals worth Rs 65,000 crore which are available on the coastline and can be extracted provided the industry complies with the norms including those relating to the Coastal Regulatory Zones (CRZ).
BSM industry is also demanding a separate policy for monazite production and processing to utilise the rare earths available in monazite, so that India can be a major player in the field of rare earths, the company official said.
Monazite, a mineral of Thorium and Rare Earth Element (REE), is the only commercial source of Rare Earths in the country at present. Private sector is not allowed to mine monazite.
Presently, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMDER), part of the DAE, carries out exploration, establishment and development of atomic minerals in the country, including Monazite.
Indian Rare Earths, a PSU controlled by DAE, processes Monazite at its Rare Earths Division in Kerala. IREL has been processing Monazite to produce Rare Earths compounds, but in 2004 this was stopped due to lack of market, as materials became available at a much lower cost.
Don't Miss on our latest updates
SIGN UP TODAY[contact-form-7 id="170" title="Subscribe"]