VV Minerals India is a beach sand mining company that has been operating for almost two decades. Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) confirmed the company’s claim of lack in technology to separate thorium from monazite. The company has also admitted to extracting and exporting garnet and ilmenite to over 20 countries.
VV Minerals had previously stated that it doesn’t process monazite that is automatically generated during the mineral separation process. Former principal scientist at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Kochi raised his concerns, “Indian Rare Earth Ltd (IREL), Manavalakurichi, uses the sand from the same area and produces thorium, so what happens to the monazite in the VV mines? Does the company follow the procedure recommended by the AERB?”
Vaikundarajan, the founder of VV Minerals was quick to clear the air. He assured that his company has been operating well within the legal boundaries. Further rubbishing all the grouses as a set up by IREL officials, he quoted, “We have established a mineral separation plant and approached the AERB for a license, which is awaited.”
Rajendra Ratnoo, District Collector of Kanyakumari, added to the allegations that VV Minerals has been mining without proper regulatory clearance. , however, claims that IREL has illegally mined in VV Mineral’s land and has indulged in other questionable practices. “No authority is ready to take action based on our complaint. Hence we approached the High Court,” he added.
The sand mining activities have been temporarily suspended. VV Mineral has filed two writ petitions on the matter, pending in the Madras High Court. Meanwhile, Vaikundarajan stays positive and assures that his company will walk clean on this matter.