Investment spread over 10 years to extract minerals from beach sand.
The Trimex Group, which has interests in various sectors including minerals and logistics, is planning to set up an integrated, multi-mineral facility on the east coast.
The group is working on a plan to extract minerals from beach sand and build abilities to produce titanium at a later stage by 2017.
Being taken up with an outlay of Rs 4,000 crore, Trimex is taking up the project in four phases and the first phase has already commenced production, though at lower levels.
The Andhra Pradesh government has granted approval to the group’s proposal to harvest minerals from the beach sand deposits near Srikurmam, Bhavanapadu and Kalingapatnam coast.
“We are starting with five minerals from the sand taken from the beach deposits. All the minerals have demand in the export market and we are trying to build market for some of the minerals even in the domestic market,” Trimex chairman Prasad R Koneru said.
The first phase set up with about Rs 250 crore produces 2,00,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) of ilmenite, 6,000 TPA of rutile, 6,000 TPA of zircon, 60,000 TPA of garnet and 50,000 TPA of silimanite.
The products are used in the manufacture of paints, ceramics, abrasives, insulation, cosmetics, paper, leather, glass products, artificial gems, aircraft parts, artificial human joints and filtration media.
“The second phase will have facilities to produce titanium dioxide pigments. They find application in paints and allied segments. Apart from that, we are also working on some of the value added products. The second phase would involve an investment of about Rs 1,200-1,500 crore,” he said.
In the second phase, the company would expand the capacities for producing the existing minerals while taking up works to produce sillimanite flour, sintered sillimanite grains and other minerals in the fourth phase.
The beach sand project involves a process of mining sand from the beach beyond 100 meters of the high tide and then purifying it by using multiple levels of water treatment.
After extracting the minerals, depending on their content in the sand, the leftover sand is pumped back into the beach to refill the pits.
“The total investment over the next 10 years would be around Rs 4,000 crore and we are looking at a debt-equity of 70:30,” he said.