THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) has agreed to conduct a mapping of the state’s mineral wealth. The mapping is being done as the first step to expand mining operations across the state. “It will allow us to assess the financial gains that will accrue to the state from the mining of minerals,” industries minister A. C. Moideen said.
Nonetheless, the minister said that mining would be restricted to the public sector. The mapping and study is expected to be completed in two months. Once the report is received, the state government will issue a notification containing the list of areas rich in mineral deposits, complete with survey numbers. AMD will also provide a georeference map, prepared after field surveys, and a study report of mineral wealth in the state. At the moment, only Indian Rare Earths Limited and Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited have been given permission to mine mineral sand in the state.
The total royalty these companies have submitted to the state government from 2014-15 till February this year amounts to Rs 12.27 crore. As per the Atomic Mineral Concession Rules 2016, it is the AMD that has to investigate the mineral deposits in any part of the country. “IREL and KMML are already mining mineral beach sand and creating value-added products like titanium dioxide, rutile-grade titanium dioxide pigment, and titanium sponge that is used in nuclear plants and aircraft engines,” Mr Moideen said.
“The government’s intention is to allow PSUs to conduct mining in the new areas identified by AMD,” he added. The beach sand heavy minerals comprises of ilmenite, leucoxene, rutile, zircon, monazite, garnet and sillimanite. “These mineral resources are sampled by various types of modern drilling methods, and reserves are estimated by mineralogical analysis of both individual and composite samples,” a top Mining and Geology Department official said.