India Not Reliant On China For Rare Earth Minerals: Govt

India Not Reliant On China For Rare Earth Minerals: Govt

by Swarajya Staff - Thursday, December 15, 2022 09:26 AM IST
India Not Reliant On China For Rare Earth Minerals: GovtMining for beach sand minerals. (Representative image)

India is not reliant on China for accessing strategically important rare earth (RE) minerals, the government told Parliament on Wednesday (14 December).

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Earth Science and Atomic Energy Jitendra Singh said, in India, capacity and capabilities in terms of mining, processing, extraction, refining and production of high pure RE oxides is adequately available.

Singh said the production of Monazite the primary source of rare earth minerals in India is around 4,000 metric tonner (MT) per annum. 

The minister added, "Though IREL (India) Limited, formerly India Rare Earths Limited, has installed capacity to process about 10,000 MT of rare earth bearing mineral, the production is capped on account of non-grant of mining leases, environment clearance, CRZ clearance from MoEF & CC, Consent to Operate, restrictions on account of Forest and uncontrolled inhabitation etc,".

He further informed that the the till Septemeber this year, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), a costituent of the Department of Atomic Energy, has established:

  • 13.07 million tonnes in-situ monazite (containing ~55-60 per cent total rare earth Elements oxide) resource occurring in the coastal beach placer sands in parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat and in the inland placers in parts of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

  • 7,37,283 tonne Rare Earth Elements Oxide (REO) in Ambadungar area, Chhota Udepur district, Gujarat

  • 36,945 tonnes REO in Bhatikhera area, Barmer district, Rajasthan

  • 2,000 tonne of heavy mineral concentrate containing ~2 per cent xenotime (a phosphate mineral of yttrium and rare earth elements) in the riverine placer deposits of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Presently, AMD is carrying out collection of xenotime bearing heavy mineral concentrate in the unit established in Chhattisgarh and has a stockpile of 97.688 tonnes xenotime bearing heavy mineral concentrate.

Further, Geological Survey of India (GSI) carries out mapping and exploration activities for various mineral commodities including Rare Earth Element (REE) and Rare Metal (RM) in different parts of the country with an aim to find out potential mineralised locales as well as to augment mineral resource, the minister said.

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