Beach Sand Mining – Misconceptions in India

Beach Sand Mining (BSM) is a process to extract rare earth minerals from open pits. There are misconceptions about BSM, that it affects environment and is a threat to biodiversity.  BSM normally consists of ilmenite, rutile, zircon, garnet, monazite, leucoxene and sillimanite. Ilmenite is the major rare earth element which is used large in the consumer products and high tech applications.

For instance; the companies who extract rare earth minerals from the field just scoop the top inch of the beach. If they go any deeper, they would end up mining silica. Silica is not a rare earth mineral and is of no use to the industry. These minerals are skimmed early in the morning, as by the evening the minerals are washed off by heavy waves. Hence, it is necessary to scoop these minerals in the morning, as the sea deposits fresh layers of rare earth minerals.

V. V. Mineral is one of the largest exporters of ilmenite and garnet in India. S Vaikundarajan is the founder of V. V. Mineral and was found by him in the late 1980s. Several allegations are made against these top notch Beach sand mining companies.

A special team led by IAS officer Gagan Deep Singh Bedi has submitted contents of a report concerning the illegal BSM in southern districts. A petition to make the content public was submitted by an advocate, it states that the public has the rights to know the details of the report.  The Madras High Court Bench has transferred the public interest petition to Principal Seat of High Court in Chennai, following the advocate’s petition.

After a number of allegations were made against these mining firms, a special investigation team was set up by the State Government to look into the matters. Before submitting the report a detailed probe was conducted by the investigating team. The government decided to extend the enquiry to other areas and has kept the report confidential. The MD and CEO of V. V. Mineral, S. Vaikundarajan said, “The investigation was completed and report submitted in November 2013. However, no evidence of illegal activity was found against VV Mineral.”




Tamil Nadu Seize Monopoly Of Garnet Placer Sand Exports; VV Minerals On The Top



Tamil Nadu is one of the leading states when it comes to export of placer sands. VV Minerals has acquired TGI and is aiming to give a good kick to the heavy mineral mining industry and our economy as well.

How is Garnet Used For Surface Preparation

Garnet, Sand Minerals, vv minerals

Garnet is a non metallic naturally obtainable mineral abrasive mined from the beaches of the Gulf of Mannar. Its distinct shape is formed as a result of hundreds of years of wave action makes it very valuable in industrial applications. It’s highly stable, non- hygroscopic, inert and non susceptibility to acid makes it suitable for the surface preparation needs in construction of Oil & gas, ship building, power plant, storage tank and water jet cutting application.

Some more advantages of garnet are that it does not contaminate surfaces of non-ferrous materials. Also, it exhibits high toughness with a very low particle breakdown on impact. It does not contain free Silica. It is relatively dust free.

Garnet is majorly used for profiling, cleaning, and the removal of paint, corrosion, rust and to scale. Surface preparation includes abrasive blasting and water jet cutting. Garnet is used as a media in these tools. They are used according to their grades.

In India, the leader in mining, production and export of Garnet is V.V. Mineral, in Tamil Nadu. They are the winners of the ‘No. 1 Garnet Exporter Award’ issued by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tuticorin from last 9 years. Their huge annual output of 1,50,000 metric tons of Garnet Abrasive is higher than any other mining company in the country. They also deal with Zircon mining, Rutile mining and Ilmenite mining.

How is Garnet used in Water Filtration

garnet water filteration, garnet, vvmineralGarnet has been used as a gemstone for centuries. However, the angular fractures and relatively high hardness and specific gravity of garnet combined with its ability to be recycled make it desirable for any industrial applications.

Garnet can be used in water filtration in a multi-media filter system or mixed media filtration. Mixed media filtration has a coarse-to-fine gradation where different media are placed one under the other with material with higher specific gravity last in the row.

The process involves the flow of water through a multi media channel which consists of different grades or size of grains. With the coarsest grains on the top, the water passes through this mesh, and through each media gets separated from impurities.

The specific gravity of Garnet being very high, it makes for the perfect filtration media. With finer grains it allows for increased solid storage which results in longer filter runs, and hence makes the filtration process more affluent.

Garnet along with other media provides high flow rates, higher loading and better filtration. Garnet sand helps to remove suspended particles from chemical and/or water filtration processes.

Garnet in India is abundantly found on the sea shores in form of placer deposits on the south eastern coast in Tamil Nadu. One of the premier companies that indulge in heavy mineral mining is V.V. Mineral. They are India’s biggest mining, manufacturers and exporters of Garnet. They have been awarded as the ‘Number One Garnet Exporters’ of our country. They also undertake Zircon mining, Rutile mining and Ilmenite mining.


How is Garnet used in Water Jet Cutting?

Garnet, vvmineral

Garnet abrasives are attained from beach sand mining on the sea shores called as heavy mineral mining. Garnet is a semiprecious gemstone known to mankind for over thousands of years. It’s hard and sharp which is perfect for water jet cutting. The type of garnet used for water jet cutting is red in colour. Garnet is also relatively chemically inert, and won’t react with materials being cut, making its disposal simpler as well.

Water jet cutting is process of cutting metal or other hard objects with a very high pressure stream of water along with a suitable abrasive. It has 30 times more pressure than the power car hand washer. The water is sprayed through a very small nozzle, which allows it to cut efficiently.

Garnet water jet can be used to cut marble granite stone metal plastic wood or stainless steel. It is odorless, dust-free and relatively heat-free process. Garnet abrasive water jet cutting applications also include tile cutting, countertops, stone cutting, food processing equipment, glass cutting, Kevlar cutting, aluminum cutting and stainless steel cutting.

Garnet abrasive water jet cutting can cut up to 8 inch thickness, has no heat-affected zone and gives superior edge quality. Garnet abrasives are manufactured in India extensively. In 2010, India was the leading exporter of Garnet all over the world. V.V. Mineral, India is the largest mining manufacturer and exporter of Garnet in the country. V.V. Mineral has won several awards for the export of garnet. They have market share in U.S., Europe, South Africa and Australia. Based in Tamil Nadu, they are India’s leading heavy mineral mining company.

How is Garnet used in Sand Blasting?

Garnet, Sand Blasting

Garnet is considered to be a silicate mineral, found in its natural state on the surface of the beaches along the coastline. Garnet is also a semiprecious gem that is used in jewellery across the world. But in industrial applications it is widely used in processes such as sand blasting, water jet cutting etc.

Sand blasting is a process where a surface is deliberately blasted with particles of sand with or without water in order to clean it. Under high pressure this material can be used to either make a rough surface smooth or vice versa. It can also be used to change the shape of a particular surface. A pressurized fluid, with air and the garnet sand is propelled on the surface that needs to be altered.

Due to its high density and physical properties, garnet is safe for both wet and dry sand blasting. It can be used on stainless steel, anti-magnetic steel and all specialty alloys. Because of its high hardness, Garnet can be used for a very long time, and is recyclable upto 5 to 10 times.

Garnet is non toxic and environmental friendly. And it has low dust levels and can be cleaned out fast. Lastly it is cost effective and available all around the world in abundance.

One of the leading companies that indulge in heavy mineral mining of garnet is V.V. Mineral. They are India’s biggest mining, manufacturers and exporters of Garnet. They have been awarded as the ‘Number One Garnet Exporters’ of our country. They also undertake Zircon mining, Rutile mining and Ilmenite mining.