Ban on beach mineral mining in Tamil Nadu since August 2013 has hit the local industry hard rendering many jobless and causing loss to the exchequer, a leading industry player has said.
"The local industry is nearly without job as a result of the ban that was effected in August last year. It has rendered joblessness to around 50,000 people including 15,000 of ours," V V Mineral's Managing Partner V V Subramanian said.
"The country is loosing forex amounting to at least Rs 10,000 crore a year," he claimed.
V V Mineral is the country's largest mining, manufacturer and exporter of garnet and ilmenite.
The Tamil Nadu government in August 2013 imposed a ban on beach mineral mining along five coastal districts on complaints of illegal mining and ordered an inquiry.
Beach mining from mineral sands is found only in coastal states such as Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra. Sands contain minerals such as garnet, ilmenite, rutile, zircon and sillimanite which are used in varied areas such as aircraft and paper industries.
Tamil Nadu holds a crucial place in beach mining and the state contributes to around 85 per cent of the country's total exports of 6.5 lakh tonnes of garnet. V V Mineral accounts for 75 per cent of the beach mineral mining activity in the state.
Stating beach mining is "replenishable", Subramanian said in the absence of mining, such minerals are being carried away by sea waves and as a result, Sri Lanka, located further down, is reaping rich benefit at the cost of Indian industry.
"The ban on mining is impacting Indian firms' reputation as trusted partners with customers overseas. It is causing an annual loss of around Rs 300 crore to the state exchaquer as well," he said.
The reopening of the mines could attract some few hundred crore of investment in the sector in Tamil Nadu, he said, adding his own company is likely to invest Rs 300 crore for enhancing capacity of value addition in the existing facility.