VV Mineral urges government to remove some HMS from India’s MMDR Act

Beach Minerals

Nov 26 2015

VV Mineral urges government to remove some HMS from India’s MMDR Act

By Liz Gyekye

Published: Tuesday, 24 November 2015

India’s Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act (MMDR), 2015 came into force earlier this year. Heavy mineral sands, such as ilmenite and zircon, are included in this act under the atomic minerals list. Yet, India’s largest producer of these minerals is calling on the Indian government to remove them from the atomic minerals list to encourage foreign direct investment.

India ­based heavy mineral sands (HMS) giant and member of India’s beach minerals trade association VV Mineral Ltd has urged the country’s government to exclude some minerals from the atomic minerals list in the MMDR Act, in order to attract foreign direct investment and create new jobs.

VV Mineral managing director, S Vailundarajan, told IM, that HMS such as ilmenite, rutile, leucoxene and zircon, used in applications including ceramics and pigments, are not used in atomic energy production or research and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) delisted them from a list of prescribed substances in 2007.

However, Vailundarajan said the Indian government had not delisted the HMS from the MMDR Act, which was unveiled in March 2015.

The atomic mineral list in the MMDR Act is given in “Part­B of Schedule 1” of the MMDR Act. It contains zirconiumbearing mineral ores including zircon and titanium bearing minerals and ores, which include ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene.

Zirconium obtained from zircon and is primarily used in nuclear reactors due to its resistance to corrosion and low absorption cross­section for thermal neutrons, according to the Indian government’s national mineral policy. In contrast, monazite is the primary source of thorium for the third stage of India’s nuclear programme.

No foreign direct investment is allowed in relation to atomic minerals, Vailundarajan told IM, adding: “If these are delisted from atomic minerals, there is no need to get permission from government of India for foreign direct investment.”

“Moreover, foreign companies are allowed for non­atomic mineral mining. At present, no foreign company is permitted to invest atomic minerals, only Indian companies permitted under the policy on beach minerals notified by government of India during 1998 [are allowed],” he explained.

He said if HMS such as zircon and ilmenite were removed from the MMDR Act then states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Odisha — mineral sand states — could see forex earnings to the sum of around $1.8bn.

In a joint letter, signed by VV Mineral and other Indian HMS producers, sent to India’s Minister for Mines, Shastri Bhawan, the companies urged the government to “harvest the fullest fruit” in terms of the MMDR Act to encourage foreign direct investment.

Another issue raised was that of monazite, which contains 0.35% uranium and 6­10% thorium.

“We urged the government to allow HMS producers to process monazite, with essential control exercised by the DAE and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. The industry can give the uranium and thorium to government and sell the rare earths, which generate employment and forex,” Vaikundarajan said.

 

Courtesy : http://www.indmin.com/Article/3508844/VV-Mineral-urges-government-to-remove-some-HMS-from-Indias-MMDR-Act.html

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