Established in the late 1980s by S Vaikundarajan, VV Minerals is one of the leading sand beach mining companies in India. Over the last two decades, the company has won several National Awards for its contribution to the export business. Today, VV Mineral Miningis the leading company to extract and export garnet and ilmenite for 20 years.
Recent allegations of illegal beach mining have put the company’s reputation at stake. The company has been accused of illegally exporting thorium to several countries. However, the company officials released a statement that there doesn’t exist a proper technology that allows separation of thorium from monazite. This was later confirmed by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
Completely ignoring the technological challenges that the entire industry is facing, former principal scientist at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Kochi stated, “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?”
The company is also accused of mining without proper clearance. The company officials were quick to mention that they have established a mineral separation plant and approached the AERB for a license that is still pending.
“The IREL officials have made baseless allegations. The authority has taken no action against the complaint launched by the company. Hence, we have approached the High Court,” says Vaikundarajan as he assures that VV Minerals India has operated within legal boundaries.
All activities pertaining to sand mining have been temporarily suspended. The company has filed two writ petitions that are pending with the Madras High Court.