VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) has shifted its focus from the Middle East to the US market after it signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) worth Rs 750 crore to supply 16 lakh metric tonnes of baryte to three firms in the US.
Besides this, the APMDC officials, who are in talks with some other firms in the US, are confident of making pacts worth another Rs 250 crore in the near future.
Three grades of barytes - A, B and CD&W - are mined in the State. The high-grade A and B variants of the mineral have high demand in the Middle East, whereas demand for the low-grade CD&W has been on the rise with energy firms from the US expressing interest to buy it.
Currently, there are 70 lakh metric tonnes of CD&W grade reserves available across the State. Energy companies in the US have come forward to purchase the low-grade baryte mines in Mangampet, Kadapa district after Principal Secretary (Mines) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi and APMDC Vice-Chairman and MD VG Venkata Reddy committed to supply quality mineral on time.
The officials interacted with the representatives of energy firms in Houston and Texas and elaborated on the practices they follow during mining. According to officials, American companies import 30 lakh tonnes of barytes per year from Morocco, China and Mexico.
With the APMDC offering to export the mineral at a lesser cost and on time, the three American firms signed the MoUs to purchase 16 lakh metric tonnes of barytes in the coming three years.
APMDC vice-chairman and MD Venkata Reddy told The New Indian Express that the Corporation is aiming to emerge as a major exporter of barytes to the US. "We want to strengthen the base by offering low prices to supply the mineral to firms in the US as it will enable APMDC to gain international reputation," he explained.
The official believed that the sale of the reserve stocks will strengthen APMDC financially and the Corporation’s contribution to the exchequer will improve considerably.