VIJAYAWADA: Refuting allegations that laterite mined by them is being sent to Vedanta company, Andru Minerals, which owns eight mining leases in Vanthada village of Prathipadu mandal, East Godavari district, has said there is no truth in the claims.
In a press release, the company said the laterite is used in cement companies and it is not sent to Vedanta, located in Odisha. “That company has a tie-up with the Odisha government and they get the needed minerals in that State itself. There is no truth in the allegations that laterite is being exported to Vedanta,” the release said.
It clarified that lease holders used to supply minerals to Andru Minerals in the past and Vedanta bought some of it and some was exported to China. It all happened several years ago. The release clarified that there was no truth in the claims that Andru has supplied laterite to Hong Kong and Jindal in Odisha.
At present, Andru Minerals has focused its attention on other business and employed a marketing agency for selling the ore in the open market and sold it for Rs 830 and Rs 930 per tonne. Even if the price of the mineral is estimated to be Rs 1,000 per tonne, the sale value of 10 lakh tonnes, the maximum amount can be mined in a year, comes to Rs 100 crore and if that is the case, where is the question of Rs 180 crore being misappropriated, the company wondered in the press release.
Further, it pointed out that due to slowdown in the economy and COVID-19 crisis, the laterite production has come down drastically. There is no truth in the claims that 20 lakh metric tonnes of laterite was mined in a year. In the 10 hectares allocated to eight lease holders, the mined mineral from 2014 was 83,29,105 metric tonnes, the company clarified.
It pointed out that laterite is a low cost mineral and not all the cement companies use it in production. Aluminum laterite is available in Rajahmundry area and in Maharashtra while ferruginous laterite is available in Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
The company said laterite deposits are not there as expected in the area leased for mining and a part of those eight mines have been closed for lack of deposit and another part is expected to be closed shortly.
There are only 25 lakh to 30 lakh tonnes of laterite deposits and the extent of the deposits is determined by the Indian Bureau of Mines and Department of Mines, which was done before January 2019.
“We are mining with all permissions. In January 2019, the then government wrote a letter to the Centre seeking clarification on the ore — whether it was laterite or bauxite. After elections, the mining was stopped waiting for clarity and once it was clarified, mining was resumed,” it explained.