Andhra Pradesh issues global tender for
The government of Andhra Pradesh in India has
cancelled 32 barite (barytes) mining leases issued in
Mangampeta, Kadapa, district in 2004 and launched an
anti-corruption enquiry into their allocation, according to
local media sources.
The state government took the decision to cancel
the decade-old leases on 19 November, reports by The
Hindu and The New Indian Express state, and has
said that fresh licences will be issued by global tenders.
In a briefing with reporters following a cabinet
meeting, Andhra Pradesh Information Technology Minister, Palle
Raghunataha Reddy, said the government had decided to cancel
the order GO MS 296, which allotted the leases in 2004, after
it was suspected that irregularities in the awarding process
had cost the government around Indian rupee (INR) 2bn ($323m*)
in unpaid taxes by December 2014.
Andhra Pradesh’s cabinet
sub-committee on corruption is now investigating the alleged
irregularities, which saw a handful of miners given exclusive
rights to mine barite in a 250 ha (2.5km2) area of
Mangampeta, where deposits are estimated to total 50m tonnes,
or 20% of global reserves.
The Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp.
(APMDC), the government body presently tasked with issuing the
tenders, has refrained from making a statement on the
Changing mineral policy in
The delay to the Indian barite tender has caused
widespread consternation in the global barite market, as
oilfield buyers of drilling-grade material become anxious about
the constriction of supply from one of the world’s
most significant suppliers.
India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra
Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power with a
large majority in April 2014, has pledged to reform the
country’s mining sector and stamp out corruption.
The period of transition is leading to some gaps in national
mineral output, however.
A new mining act, the Mines and Minerals
Development and Regulations (Amendment) Bill 2014, is being
drafted. This will make illegal mining a criminal offence and
initiate transparent auctioning of mining blocks in the hope of
attracting foreign investment and skills into the sector.
The amended bill also seeks to introduce a single
window clearance process for land acquisition and mining
licences and stimulate growth in the sectors that consume
A preliminary version of the bill is still being
debated between India’s mining ministry and mining
companies. It is unclear when a final version will be drawn up
IM Data analyst, Shruti Salwan,
said that barite mining is one of the focal points of planned
"Because Andhra Pradesh is the barite hub of
India, the state’s Chief Minister has declared a
war against illegal mining of the mineral," she explained.
"State officials have been instructed to install
cameras at strategic points near mines, set up proper weighing
machines at the mines and track the trucks carrying barite
using GPS. Over 94% of the barite reserves of this state are in
Kadappa district and the government wants to consume the
mineral wealth for state development," she said.
Coretrack begins construction of fly ash
ceramic proppant plant
Oil and gas technology company Coretrack has
begun construction at its Ecopropp Pty Ltd pilot fly ash
proppant manufacturing plant in Queensland, Australia.
The plant is expected to be completed by the end
of Q1 2015 and will test the scalability of
Ecopropp’s proppant product based on fly ash, a
residue from coal power plants.
Planning and development of the project began in
May 2014, when Coretrack purchased Australian proppant company
Ecopropp, and production is expected to begin in the second
quarter of 2015.
"Production at the plant will validate the
scalability of our proppant product and provide a clear runway
for the commercialisation of the product in the massive global
fracking and proppant market," Siegfried Konig,
Coretrack’s executive director, said.
Potential to "lead the
Proppants are used in hydraulic fracturing
(fracking) in the oil and gas industry, where they are pumped
into wells under pressure to prop open fractures in shale rock,
allowing the extraction of tight oil and gas. An increase in
fracking has driven up demand for frac sand, sintered bauxite
and kaolin, the main components of oilfield proppants.
As a result of its 'shale gale’, the
US’ requirement for frac sand, ceramic proppants,
and resin-coated versions of each, has grown from around 5m
tonnes in 2007 to 34.7m tonnes in 2013, according to
Proppants market report.
The IM Research
report estimates that frac sand takes up approximately 80-85%
of the fracking mineral market share by volume, with ceramic
proppants and resin-coated versions taking 10-15%. By value,
however, ceramic proppants take a 50% share of the market.
Coretrack’s proppants have been
certified to meet or exceed both the American Petroleum
Institute (API) and ISO standards.
US frac market strong in face of lower oilWhile
oil prices have been falling to five-year lows, dropping under
$60/barrel in mid-December, the US frac sand market has
According to an index released monthly by the
country’s Bureau of Labour Statistics, which
measures the producer price for frac sand, prices are around 9%
up year-on-year at an indexation of 98.7 at the end of
This is down month-on-month, but October, at an
indexation of 99.1 for the month, was the highest the Producer
Price Index (PPI) had been since December 2012.
Oil prices tumble
The latest fall in the crude oil price, which was
well over $100/barrel as recently as June 2014, was triggered
by a report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC), which lowered its demand forecast for
OPEC-produced crude to the lowest level in a decade.
The cartel said that a looming supply glut for
oil had been created by a combination of surging shale oil
production in the US and weakening global demand as economic
growth in key oil-consuming nations is slowing or has
Low oil prices would normally be welcomed by
manufacturers and logistics companies which benefit from
cheaper energy, but the sagging oil price has been received as
a sign of the wider malaise in worldwide raw material
consumption and points to further bad news for minerals and