Materializing the potential of Rare Earth's Mining in India - Getting India's Gold Rush

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'India not realising potential of rare earth industry'
Significant rare earths minerals found in India include ilmenite, sillimanite, garnet, zircon, monazite and rutile, collectively called Beach Sand Minerals.
NEW DELHI: The Indian rare earth industry, potentially worth Rs 90,000 crore in annual turnover, lies wasted and underused, according to industry representatives.
As per estimates by experts belonging to the Beach Minerals Producers Association, the rare earth mineral downstream industry can net a capital employment of about Rs 121,000 crore, including Rs 50,000 crore worth of foreign exchange.
Rare earths are a special class of 17 elements that have extensive uses across various industries including computer and IT, clean energy systems, healthcare, defence production, advanced transportation services and many others.
Significant rare earths minerals found in India include ilmenite, sillimanite, garnet, zircon, monazite and rutile, collectively called Beach Sand Minerals (BSM). India has almost 35 per cent of the world’s total beach sand mineral deposits.
Their importance lies in their unique electronic, optical and magnetic characteristics, which cannot be matched by any other metal or synthetic substitute.
However, the industry in India has barely registered momentum.
"In 1998, they started freeing up the industry and in 2006, those minerals were taken off the prescribed substances list and for some reason, they have recently been put back on. So, the country has actually gone backwards. There is no justification," said Grant Smith, director-overseas operations at V V Minerals. "No one is getting the licences. It has been reserved specifically for PSUs through the DAE (department of atomic energy). So, at the moment, it is only the IndiaRare Earths and the Kerala operations."
Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IRE) is operating the mineral sands separation plant at Chavara in Kerala to produce some rare earth minerals. Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), a Kerala state government undertaking, is also carrying out the mining of the beach sands minerals.
These minerals are not literally ‘rare’. They are called so as they tend to occur together in nature as part of the same ore and are difficult to find as standalone minerals. And this is the prime issue with the rare earth mining industry.
Monazite has as one of its constituents thorium and uranium, though in small quantities, these are radioactive elements making monazite a restricted ‘atomic’ mineral.
"There is a perception here in India that monazite is an atomic mineral. It is actually not. Monazite is just a mineral that contains thorium and very very small amounts of uranium. But the major constituent in monazite is rare earth," said Smith. "In today’s world, China controls over 95 per cent of the rare earth market. India is not realizing any potential. You have to separate the mineral monazite from its constituents. None of the other rare earths have any thorium in them. They are associated in the ore body but not in the actual mineral."
C Swamydas, chief advisor for V V Minerals, explained how proposals have been given where they are willing to take on all the cost of setting up the plant, and even pay to let the atomic energy department put its own people process monazite. "We shall give the thorium (produced) to the government for free. They can store it for future use."
Thorium is the basis of India’s three-stage nuclear power programme, which utilises thorium as fuel for the third stage i.e. the advanced heavy water reactor (AHWR).
Smith also stressed on the versatility of rare earth minerals. "It is a big investment. But in the overall size of the market, it is not that high. This is about downstream manufacturing, it is about building computer hardware, hand tools, air conditioning units…it is about building the end-user products," he said. "It is not about the element itself. It is about improving the manufacturing base of India."
 
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India Launches First Survey on Rare Earth Metals to Reduce Dependency on China
The Indian government has earmarked 12 minerals crucial for the manufacturing of cutting edge defense equipment. India has no declared domestic reserves for majority of the identified critical [rare earth] minerals and is heavily dependent the world’s biggest producer.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has invited companies to participate in a three-year survey for its deposits of rare earth minerals. The aero geophysical exercise will be conducted over three years for collecting baseline magnetic and spectrometric data. The government will soon finalize the global firm that will conduct the survey over 800,000 sq. km area at a cost of $ 210 million.
"The Geological Survey of India has initiated a national aero-geophysical mapping program over the identified `Obvious Geological Potential' (OGP) areas for acquiring the baseline magnetic and spectrometric data. By April 2017, aero-geophysical survey over an area of about 2.05 lakh sq. km is planned to be carried out," said Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister for Mines.
Indian government is involving private exploration agencies through a revenue sharing mechanism and expects to provide a structured framework for targeting deep-seated and concealed mineral deposits in the country.
The government has identified critical minerals that play an important role in aerospace, automobiles, cameras, defense, entertainment systems, laptops, medical imaging, nuclear energy, and smart phone segments. India is totally dependent on imports for seven out of the 12 identified critical minerals. India doesn't have any declared resources for them, except light rare-earths (found along with monazite sands) and beryllium.
 

ezsasa

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There was a MoU with Japanese on processing of rare earth materials on 2014, i wonder how much of it has progressed.

And also the titanium sponge plant which produced its first batch this year also came at a good time. Need lot of titanium for the SPG barrels.
 

S.Balaji

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Titanium Sponge Plant Chavara of Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) makes india the 7th country in the world to have commercial technology to make Titanium Sponge for defense applications. It was commisioned in 2011 with an annual capacity of 500 MT

.The Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL under DRDO) developed the process of sponge production after twenty years of continuous R&D and established an experimental facility at Hyderabad.

The project is fully funded by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC under ISRO) and the sponge produced will be used for their aerospace applications.



Currently plans are afoot for the proposed 10000 TPY Titanium Sponge Plant near KMML. Now KMML has signed a memorandum of understanding with Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for a Rs 5,000-crore joint venture for manufacturing titanium sponge.

Future plans consist of Mg recovery from MgCl2 (by product) intended to setup an experimental facility at KMML, funded by VSSC with technical backup from DMRL .

Titanium sponge is widely produced employing the Kroll process of high-temperature reduction of titanium tetrachloride by magnesium.
IMG_20170730_133420771.jpg
IMG_20170730_133412645.jpg


In Dec 2016 Indian Navy procured 4.5 metric tonnes apart from its usual customer ISRO this is the first time that indigenously produced titanium sponge for strategic applications was being purchased by a defence wing from the KMML.
 

F-14B

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Titanium Sponge Plant Chavara of Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) makes india the 7th country in the world to have commercial technology to make Titanium Sponge for defense applications. It was commisioned in 2011 with an annual capacity of 500 MT

.The Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL under DRDO) developed the process of sponge production after twenty years of continuous R&D and established an experimental facility at Hyderabad.

The project is fully funded by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC under ISRO) and the sponge produced will be used for their aerospace applications.



Currently plans are afoot for the proposed 10000 TPY Titanium Sponge Plant near KMML. Now KMML has signed a memorandum of understanding with Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for a Rs 5,000-crore joint venture for manufacturing titanium sponge.

Future plans consist of Mg recovery from MgCl2 (by product) intended to setup an experimental facility at KMML, funded by VSSC with technical backup from DMRL .

Titanium sponge is widely produced employing the Kroll process of high-temperature reduction of titanium tetrachloride by magnesium.
View attachment 20626 View attachment 20627

In Dec 2016 Indian Navy procured 4.5 metric tonnes apart from its usual customer ISRO this is the first time that indigenously produced titanium sponge for strategic applications was being purchased by a defence wing from the KMML.
sorry for asking a nob question but for what is titanium sponge used

:scared1::scared1::scared1::scared1::scared1:
 

S.Balaji

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sorry for asking a nob question but for what is titanium sponge used

:scared1::scared1::scared1::scared1::scared1:
Titanium (Ti) alloy products find extensive applications in Aerospace and Defence areas.
Properties like high strength to weight ratio and excellent corrosion resistance make Titanium alloys (like Ti6Al4V) useful for liquid propellant tanks for launch vehicles and satellites, gas bottle/liners, inter tank structures and interface rings for satellites

In order to qualify the sponge for space applications, VSSC has realised aerospace grade Titanium alloy Ti6Al4V products at Midhani, Hyderabad

One example of usage in launch vehicles


Hemispherical domes were made from Ti6Al4V plates through hot forming process at BrahMos, Thiruvananthapuram. These domes are further machined and joined by electron beam welding to gas bottles. Two numbers of such 600 mm diameter gas bottles required for PS2/GS2/L-110 stage pressurisation systems for a rated capacity of 330 bar were realised and qualified. These are used in PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk III launch vehicles. All the bottles were subjected to proof pressure testing at 495 bar and accepted. One of the gas bottles was subjected to burst test and the gas bottle withstood 700 bar pressure against 660 bar requirement.

With this, indigenous Ti sponge is completely qualified for space applications giving a big boost to Make in India campaign.
 

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