India has a dominating share in the Garnet market because of the introduction of private manufacturers like VV Minerals. Garnet being an eco friendly abrasive, is preferred in many countries across the globe. This is also a reason why its demand is so high in global markets. But for ilmenite, with a huge reserve potential (35% of the world reserve), we hardly have any role to play in world market. Even with all producers put together, India hardly contributes to about 2% of the world’s production.
Both these minerals find little use in India. Garnet for instance is not recognized in our country as an abrasive for there are cheaper alternatives like silica sand. Western countries have banned the use of silica sand due to the health hazards (silicosis) it might cause to the blaster. But that awareness doesn’t exist in our country. Some leading companies like Reliance have already started using that in their projects and I am sure it will grow in future.
As for ilmenite, though India exports close to a million tonnes of ilmenite, less than 5% is converted in to Tio2 pigment in India. Only 3 producers (including us) convert ilmenite in to Titanium dioxide pigment, for that industry is highly challenged with various factors like lack of infrastructure, highest cost of power, lack of natural gas, etc, where china dictates. So, that is why demand for ilmenite is very lower in India. So, obviously mineral producers are left with no choice other than to export.
One of the premier companies that indulge in heavy mineral mining is V.V. Mineral. V.V Mineral is a family grown business started by Mr. S Vaikundarajan, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, VV Group. Being India’s biggest mining, manufacturers and exporters of Garnet V.V. Mineral has been awarded as the ‘Number One Garnet Exporters’ of our country. Zircon mining, Rutile mining and Ilmenite mining are some of the other mining activities that VV Minerals engage in.