KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) - The government of the southern Indian province of Tamil Nadu has imposed a suspension on all beach and river sand mining, including garnet, ilmenite and rutile, as a result of illegal mining operations.
The provincial government said in a statement that an investigation team would conduct a probe across 71 mineral quarries located in four districts. All mining operations would remain suspended until the findings of the investigations were appraised and a policy regarding beach and river sand mining was developed.
According to the government, there are ten companies involved in mining beach and river sands across the province through 81 lease agreements.
An investigating team earlier probed rare-earth mining in one district and, although the report was not made public, the government said that it had been able to establish violations of mining norms such as excavating beyond permitted leasehold areas and no restoration work completed in mined areas.
Based on this report, the government decided to extend the probe across the entire province and until such time as investigations were completed and a sand mining policy was outlined, mining and transportation of such minerals would remain suspended.