Mumbai: Varun Industries Ltd on Tuesday said it has discovered 10 blocks of world class ilmenite and rare earth deposit in Madagascar with reserves of about 266.8 million tonnes (MT).
The NSE and BSE listed company has evolved from being India’s leading steelware exporter to a highly proactive multi-dimensional global conglomerate with business interests that include steelware, agri products, oil and natural gas, wind energy, uranium, gold mining and gems and jewellery.
Varun Industries through its overseas arm has discovered 10 Heavy Mineral Sand (HMS) mining blocks covering an area of 62.5 sq km in Ankilimitraha, Belay and Analapatsy areas of Anosy region in Republic of Madagascar, a company statement said here.
The Total Heavy Mineral (THM) resources in these permit areas is about 266.8 MT which contains 221 MT of ilmenite, 1.84 MT of rutile, 1.84 MT of leucoxene, 9.2 MT of monazite, 18.4 MT zircon, 9.2 MT of garnet, 2.76 MT sillimanite and 9.2 MT of spinel, it said.
These elements are widely used in a range of hardware including precision-guided weapons, lasers, radar, hybrid car, magnets for electric vehicle motors wind turbines, compact fluorescent light bulbs, flat panel display, iPads and a number of equipments in medical diagnostics, treatment and pharmaceuticals, paints, pigments, ceramics and abrasives etc.
About 97% of the world’s rare earth metal supplies come from China and India contributes close to 2% of the world supply.
China has begun restricting exports, reducing permits from 66,000 tonnes in 2004 to 30,000 tonnes in 2010. China has taken additional measures such as closing down some of the plants and recently declared the rare earths as strategic minerals which lead to sharp price rise.
“This is very encouraging finding for the group. Ilmenite and rare earth minerals are in high demand and the demand growth is coupled with an uncertain supply-side response, creating a deficit market in many elements and the foundation for significant increases in prices.
Rare earth demand is driven, in large part, by two of the fastest-growing sectors on the planet, energy and high technology,” Varun Industries Vice-President Exploration AP Dhurandhar said.
The company said it has also discovered gold at Madagascar Mines with their joint venture partner Torian Resources NL.