Mining of Rare Earth Materials

March 6, 2013 (Source: PIB – India) — Running mining projects of Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) are located at Orissa Sand Complex (OSCOM) at Chatrapur (Odisha), at Manavalakurichi (Tamil Nadu) and at Chavara (Kerala).

No rare earth material occurring as an independent mineral has been mined by IREL during the last three years. However, the monazite rich tailings resulting from mining of Beach Sand Minerals have been stored as per the guidelines of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for extraction of thorium, uranium and rare earth material from monazite in future.

The proposed projects are: Project for capacity expansion of mining and mineral separation unit at OSCOM, and Separated high pure rare earths project at Rare Earth Division of IREL at Chavara, Kerala.

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Due to limited availability of mineable land carrying raw beach sand, and gradual decline in heavy mineral contents in the sand, the activities at Chavara and Manavalakurichi are declining during recent years.

To expand its activities in the region, IREL has identified options for: (i) acquiring land from the land owners at Vellanathuruthu, Pandarathuruthu and Ponmana area of Chavara mines; (ii) outright purchase package and/or lease package for acquiring land at Karithura, Chavara; (iii) collecting raw sand from Neendakara Port area with the help of State Government and Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd.; (iv) purchase of dredged-out sand from Neendakara harbour area; and (v) acquiring land for mining purposes from stake holders having surface right in the mining areas of Chavara and Manavalakurichi.

The Minister of State in the ministry of Personnel, PG & Pensions and in the Prime Minister’s Office Shri V. Narayanasamy Gave this information in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha today.


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