India’s minerals industry, Rare earths are a group of elements in the periodic table which have similar properties and are costly to extract from ore. They are seventeen in number and their reserves are mostly found in China, California, India, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, and Malaysia. The Chinese rare earth industry has control over 95% of the production in the world placing it at a monopoly and higher position. India imports rare earths mostly in the finished but this should be changed as India is in pursuit of the goal of self-reliance. According to Times of India, on the subsequent particulars, the managing director of Trimex Sands.
Private Limited (TSPL) commented-
“Currently, China controls over 95% of the world’s rare earth supply and its complete monopoly is quite undesirable for the world. At the same time, despite owning 70% of the world’s monazite reserves, India still imports 100% of its needs of rare earth and rare-earth-based components. This must change now as we move towards a self-reliant India.”
India can make significant progress as it possesses a considerable amount of beach sand minerals, mainly monzonite. These beach sand minerals are further used to make rare earth elements and hence this could help in decreasing the imports of the country. As suggested by Pradeep Koneru, the managing director of TSPL, it could also generate employment opportunities and the production of value-added products could help in earning Foreign Exchange. This could contribute to the economic growth of India vastly.
In 2016, the Government of India had placed a restriction that the private companies could mine maximum concentration of 0.75 percent monazite found in the beach sands. Later on, it completely stopped the private sector from mining rare earth minerals found along the coastline’s sand.
Nevertheless, Koneru said-
“The Notification No. G.S.R. 134(E) dated February 20, 2019, issued by the ministry of mines that reserves the mining of beach sand minerals for government companies only has led to huge job losses and brought billions of private sector investments to a grinding halt.”
He appealed the Prime Minister to revoke the notification and turn India into a prime producer around the globe. He further added, “Development of the rare earth and titanium production business in India will not only make India self- sufficient but also spin-off several downstream manufacturing businesses creating a platform for capital investment, employment creation under the ‘Make In India” program.”