With reference to India, consider the following statements?
- Monazite is a source of rare earths.
- Monazite contains thorium.
- Monazite occurs naturally in the entire Indian coastal sands in India.
- In India, Government bodies only can process or export monazite.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2022 Prelims]
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 1, 2 and 4 only
(c) 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
- Monazite is a reddish-brown phosphate mineral containing rare earth metals, such as lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, and neodymium. It also contains thorium, which is considered a “prescribed substance” under the Atomic Energy Act of 1962. However, monazite does not occur naturally in all Indian coastal sands.
- It is an atomic mineral that is found in the coastal sands of only three districts: Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, and Kanyakumari.
- Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL), a wholly-owned Public Sector Undertaking of the Government of India (GOI) under DAE, is the only entity permitted to produce and process monazite for domestic use and export.
- Monazite has a high concentration of thorium (up to 500 ppm) and is a radioactive mineral used for the production of thorium. It also has the potential to be used as fuel in the nuclear power system.
Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.