Recently, the Mining Engineers Association of India (MEAI) had requested the government of India to give freedom private mineral companies like VV Minerals, India a free hand in carrying out their operations in extracting thorium mining.
Some of MEAI’s prominent members believe that there is no logical explanation or rational reason as to why private miners are barred from mining thorium. Added to that, the licensing and clearances process is time consuming, which further affects the progress for the industry.
Currently, Indian has a reserve of nearly 500 million tonnes of ilmenite in various parts of the country. However, there is only production of the heavy mineral at a meagre 800,000 tonne annually. Similarly, zircon has an estimated reserve of over 32 million tonne in the country, but only 35,000 tonne is being manufactured.
Lately, Justice Kapadia in an article to The Hindu pointed out that judges should make a balanced judgment with regard to environmental concerns and sustainable development. Just banning mining activities because of a suspected illegal activity is not fair to the thousands unemployed in these areas.
Companies like VV Mineral, owned by Mr. S. Vaikundarajan, who were falsely accused of being a part of Thorium scam, are still under the ban, even after the central governments have given them a clean chit.