Written submission by M/s V.V. Mineral on beach sand mining, Tamil Nadu, 16/01/2021

  • 16/01/2021

Written submission by M/s V.V. Mineral in the matter of M/s V.V. Mineral Vs The Member, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Coastal Zonal Management Authority dated 16/01/2021.

The appellant (M/s V.V. Mineral) is engaged in the beach sand mineral industry. The appellant applied to the Ministry of Commerce through the Board of Approvals for setting up a Specific Mineral Based SEZ, including captive port, which was approved on December 5, 2012. What is being set up is not a Monazite processing unit, but an SEZ where diverse mineral related activities were to be carried out. During the processing of beach sand minerals, various minerals are obtained like rutile, ilmenite, leucoxene, zircon. Therefore, it was mentioned in the Application for permission from CRZ authorities that Monazite is also one of the minerals obtained during the processing of beach sand minerals.

The CZMA granted the CRZ clearance on August 10, 2016. The list of proposed activities include: (a) Cracking of Monazite, (b) Processing of Titanium, (c) Processing of Zirconium and other activities.

However on October 5, 2016 the Tamil Nadu Coastal Zonal Management Authority passed a Suo motu revocation order, revoking the permission, without issuing a Show Cause Notice or giving the Applicants an opportunity of hearing. 

The basis for this order was said to be an internal communication from the Department of Atomic Energy dated September 30, 2016 purportedly stating that Monazite cannot be cracked by private parties. Neither this document was shared with the appellant, nor was the appellant was given any chance to show cause. 
Ban on mining in any way should not affect operation of the SEZ. Any unit setting up operations in the SEZ can procure minerals from anywhere; they can purchase the same either from government companies, or by import, or by using legally mined stocks. Many companies in India are using beach sand minerals day in and day out, for activities like paint manufacture, dental implants, surgical implants and abrasives. Further, a "bald allegation of illegal mining" can never be a ground to refuse an EIA Clearance, much less to suo motu revoke an existing clearance.