Beach mining: Madras HC to begin final hearing from July 9

The Bench directed the beach sand mining companies to report of the amicus curiae on the quantum of illegally mined minerals and volume of minerals illegally transported from the sealed godowns.
Madras HC
Madras HC(File Photo | EPS)

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court will conduct final hearing of the batch of petitions relating to illegal mining of beach sand minerals from July 9.

The first bench of Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq on Monday directed the respective counsel for beach sand mining companies to advance their arguments on the findings of the committees and the report of the amicus curiae on the quantum of illegally mined minerals and volume of minerals illegally transported from the sealed godowns.

Meanwhile, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) of the department of Atomic Energy filed a counter-affidavit enlisting the methods and procedures followed in assessing the presence of the monazite equivalent and monazite percentage in the beach sand minerals.

The counter-affidavit, filed through Deputy Solicitor General Rajesh Vivekanandan, said monazite is a mineral of thorium and rare earths and also contains substantial concentration of uranium and hence it is radioactive in nature.

“Thorium and uranium are notified as Prescribed Substances under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and also minerals of thorium and uranium are notified atomic minerals under MMDR Act, 1957, whereas Rare Earths find several applications in the strategic sectors. Hence, monazite is a mineral of strategic importance,” the affidavit said.

Further, AMD said all the procedures followed for assessing the monazite equivalent and monazite percentage found in the beach sand mineral during the re-assessment survey of the sealed godowns are one and the same and should be considered the correct way of depicting the monazite content in the beach sand.

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