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In a significant development, an Indian company has discovered vast quantities of rare earths in Madagascar, which could challenge China’s monopoly in rare earths.

08 Jul 2011

MUMBAI (Commodity Online) : In a significant development, an Indian company has discovered vast quantities of rare earths in Madagascar, which could challenge China’s monopoly in rare earths.

Mumbai-based Varun Group, said, a total of 266.8 million tonnes has been discovered in 10 blocks, reports mineweb.

According to a company official, the company is already in talks with potential partners, both Indian and international, to develop the ten blocks.

The company has discovered ten heavy mineral sand mining blocks covering an area of 62.5 square kilometre in Ankilimitraha, Belay and Analapatsy areas of Anosy region in the Republic of Madagascar.

The total heavy mineral resources in these permit areas is about 266.8 million tonnes which contains 221 million tonnes of ilmenite, 1.84 million tonnes of rutile, 1.84 million tonnes of leucoxene, 9.2 million tonnes of monazite ,18.4 million tonnes zircon, 9.2 million tonnes of garnet, 2.76 million tonnes sillimanite and 9.2 million tonnes of spinel.

Stating that the value of the different minerals ranges between $250 to $1000 per tonne, the vice president said the mining life of the deposit is expected to be approximately 40 to 50 years.

The company is conducting the next stage of scoping study and analysing the mineral content. It expects to start producing in the next six to eight months with an initial production of around 1,00,000 to 5,00,000 tonne per annum of the concentrate.

The Indian firm's find is expected to help boost supply in a market that is tightly controlled by China. China supplies 93% of 17 key rare earth elements, and has clamped on mining in certain areas as well as limited export quotas.

However, it was just a matter of time before China could see some competition and its percentage of supply diminish resulting in a weaking of its hold on the rare earth minerals market. The recent find in Japan and by the Indian firm could well destablise China's position.

India contributes close to 2% of the world supply. The vice president of Varun Industries said the overall rare earth oxide demand is set to increase by 12.5% by 2015.


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COMMENTS (1)
Paul Adams
12 Jul 2011
Why does this article mention rare earths when it is clearly about heavy minerals? There are no rare earth minerals mentioned in the text of the article.
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