Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tap the opportunities in Granite sector in Tamil Nadu

Port Wings is bringing out series of articles on major opportunities pertaining to the EXIM sector every week in connection with the Tamil Nadu Govt’s Global Investors Meet (GIM). This week, we analyze about the opportunities in Granites sector in attracting investments.
Port Wings News Network:
The main mineral wealth of the Tamil Nadu state is granite, limestone and lignite. The availability of different varieties of granite in different parts of the state’s quarries located in Krishnagiri, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Vellore areas, has resulted in a booming granite industry in the region. Over the years, the granite industry has grown from strength to strength and reports suggest that it contributing more than 35% of the country's exports.

Granite is an igneous rock with at least 20% quartz in it. Granite is a kind of igneous rock and is formed from magma emitted during a volcanic eruption.
According to information available, the rock has been used to add aesthetic value in buildings as well as used for making monuments in countries like China and Japan. An estimate shows that during 2013-14, exports of granite blocks were about Rs.12,000 crore. For the raw granites originating from southern states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, ports in the state like Chennai and Tuticorin (VOC Port) serves as the gateway.
Tamil Nadu Minerals Limited, popularly known as TAMIN, is a wholly owned blue chip company of the Government of Tamil Nadu started in 1978.TAMIN is engaged in the exploitation, processing and marketing of Granite and other minerals such as Limestone, Vermiculite, Quartz, Feldspar, Indian Standard Sand and Graphite.
Exports of granite rough blocks from the state’s various quarries to different countries, mainly to China, has been growing steadily over the past several years.
While China is the global leader in finished granite exports, India is the no.1 supplier of raw granite blocks to China. Estimates show that more than 53% rough granite blocks from India are being exported to China alone every year.
According to experts, exporting rough blocks is not fetching much foreign exchange revenue for the government. Besides, the same stone re-enters India with a value addition in Chinese factories, which in turn give more revenue to the country than the actual producer of those granite stones.
The experts also feel that the time has come for the Government of Tamil through its arm TAMIN to seriously think of setting up a state-of-the-art facility for granite cutting, polishing and for monuments in the state’s granite nerve centres like Hosur, Vellore, Madurai and Tirunelveli in a joint venture with globally leading companies.
By setting up such facilities, the Tamil Nadu state government could become a leading player in the country in supply of finished products from granites, added the experts. Furthermore, it will also help the ports in the Tamil Nadu to flourish their business further;
TAMIN, though exports polished granite slabs, building slabs and tiles in several attractive colours, wall panels and monuments of various designs conforming to International Standards, was unable to break grounds due to stiff competition in the international market.
TAMIN entered the international granite market in the year 1979 and has secured a steady market for dimensional blocks of black and other colour materials in countries like China, Japan, Germany, Italy, Australia, UK, Switzerland, Holland, USA etc. However, their stride to export finished as well as value-added products in Granites is stuck in re-tapism and inconsistent policies on the exports by the state as well as union government.
Speaking to Port Wings, Mr G Natarajan, an expert in granites, said “The trade in the Tamil Nadu state was flourishing once when there were very few players. However, regular change in policies in exports, entry of middlemen, and other issues compounded the whole trade into a troublesome affair of late. Due to the shift, many small quarry owners vanished from the trade and it has led to export of mostly rough granite blocks to China.”
If the Tamil Nadu government forms a JV with leading Granite companies from China during the GIM for setting up advanced plants for cutting, polishing and for monuments making, it will not only help the state to attain a status of hub for granite products, it will also generate huge number of employment opportunities for the youth in the state,” Mr Natarajan added.
Hence, experts feel that the Tamil Nadu government should understand the potential of granite segment in generating revenue as well as employment and finalize JV with Chinese or any other willing companies during GIM.

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