KRMEL mooted Rs 3,000 crore mineral complex project following sand mining ban

The government has permitted sand mining to the PSU's Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) and Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL). The GST's e-Way Bills, however, revealed that KMRL received the sand from IREL. Representational image.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Rare Earths and Minerals Ltd (KREML), after its abortive bid to mine mineral sand, mooted a mineral complex project worth Rs 3,000 crore to produce value-added mineral sand products.

In May 209, KREML also approached the state government to relax land ownership rules on a 60-acre plot owned by the company in Alappuzha for the mineral complex. Though rules forbid ownership of more than 15 acres, KREML had shot off a letter to KSIDC in this regard, a copy of which owns Manorama.

Though KSIDC had given Rs 9.46 crore for a stake in KREML’s mineral sand mining project, it is not clear if the government gave the relaxation. As the mineral sand mining project did not get clearance, this amount was routed to the mineral complex project and even sought further financial assistance from KSIDC.

The revelation comes even as KSIDC submits to the centre and courts that it only had a nominal stake in Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL) owned by Sashidharan Kartha.

The government had given the nod for mineral sand mining to KRMEL following the recommendation of KSIDC. It was after this that 60 acres were purchased for the complex.

The KSIDC and Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IRE), which had stakes in CMRL, had expressed their willingness to buy stakes in KRMEL. IRE had only mentioned its willingness in the pact, but KSIDC went ahead and sanctioned financial aid of Rs 9.46 crore. Though the mineral sand mining sanction was quashed by the government in 2003 and the tribunal upheld it in 2010, KMREL got a favourable verdict from the Supreme Court in 2016.

But the centre amended the laws in 2019 to ban mineral sand mining, prompting it to float the idea of a mineral complex project.

The letter to the KSIDC stated that as KRMEL had trade ties with Japanese firms, the mineral complex project would be successful.

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