Rich deposits

Print edition : December 14, 2012

P.S. Parihar, Director, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, Hyderabad. The rock in the middle contains uranium.-G. RAMAKRISHNA

Tummalapalle in YSR district of Andhra Pradesh has in situ reserves of 70,000 tonnes of uranium oxide. In the coming year, with further exploration, we will cross 1,00,000 tonnes, said P.S. Parihar, Director, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), Hyderabad.

The Tummalapalle uranium-bearing belt is about 160 kilometres long. The AMD has explored 15 km of strike length and up to a depth of 500 metres. In future, we will be exploring up to a depth of 800 metres. We will start our exploration on the eastern side, which has a big potential, and Tummalapalle will prove to be a big deposit, said Parihar.

Olympic Dam in Australia has the largest deposits of uranium in the worldan estimated 22 per cent of the worlds reserves. Seven other deposits in different countries contain one lakh tonnes of uranium, and 18 deposits contain uranium between 50,000 tonnes and 1,00,000 tonnes.

The AMD, which prospects for uranium in the country, has found 4,000 tonnes of uranium metal in the Bhima basin at Gogi in Karnataka. Parihar called it a rich ore, which has a slightly higher grade than the deposits found at Nalgonda or Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh.

Gogi is ready for exploitation and Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) has done some exploratory mining there. However, the project is awaiting environmental clearance for work in a sustained manner.

The AMD has established 5,500 tonnes of uranium metal at Rohil in Sikar district in Rajasthan. The Rohil uranium belt, situated about 80 km from the Khetri copper belt, is quite promising, said Parihar. The ore is good. We are working in that area, he said.

T.S. Subramanian
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