KOLLAM: Top officers of Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL), the largest public sector under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), have defended the mining practices of the company and denied mining resulted in shrinking of land at Alappad Panchayat.
“Even if we do not mine, erosion will happen. The entire west coast is hit by erosion. That is hy the state government started sea protection measures long back,” a senior officer of IREL told Express.According to him the mining process is carried out in a scientific manner and it did not accelerate sea erosion.“At the shore, refilling happens simultaneously along with mineral separation and the charges against the company were unfounded,” he said.
According to him, the minerals mined were atomic minerals and it has been used for national energy security. “We do agree Alappad should be saved. But why do we stop mining when it has nothing to do with sea erosion?” the senior officer said.
The company has started the construction of groynes from its mining site of Vellanathuruth to further north, as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.“We constructed a groyne one-and-a-years ago. Four more with a gap of 700 metres will come up soon,” he said.
The groynes field project costs Rs 8 crore. It is designed by IIT -M and IREL has given the depositary work to Irrigation Department. The length of groynes varies from 75 to 45 m. The company has been blamed by the protesters of ‘Save Alappad, Stop Mining’ campaign for causing the intense sea erosion in Alappad panchayat. A senior IRE officer, on condition of anonymity, said the protest was the private mining lobby’s conspiracy to destroy the public sector company.
“The rehabilitation offered by IRE at Puthanthura in Chavara is a model for the country,” he said. IREL officers said the company would give a detailed response to the allegations after they receive approval from its corporate office in three days.The adjacent area of Chavara is blessed with one of the best mineral sand deposits in the country - the ‘Q’ Grade minerals.The Chavara mines contain as high as 40 per cent heavy minerals extending over a stretch of 23 km along the coastal belt of Neendakara and Kayamkulam.