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A new mining project could make Rajasthan India’s next uranium hub

Barrels with uranium oxide are stored at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in the northeastern industrial city of Oskemen
REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
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India may be a step closer to expanding its uranium production.

Rajasthan, a state in the western part of the country, is hoping to mine the rare mineral, according to a report in Business Standard. India’s department of atomic energy first found uranium deposits in the state in 2012.

Officials project the deposits to be as much as 12 million tonnes, the Hindustan Times reported yesterday (June 27). The project is expected to be worth 3,000 crore rupees ($380 million). Currently, the states of Jharkhand, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh have India’s largest uranium mines.

A letter of intent issued by the Rajasthan state government to the Uranium Corporation of India is, however, only the first step in the process. Not all uranium can be excavated and used for nuclear energy or other by-products. Nor can the quantum of uranium be understood without a detailed geologic survey.

For instance, till December 2020 (pdf), the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research had identified 44 uranium deposit sites in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Maharashtra. But not all of these deposits are conducive to fruitful mining activities.

India also imports its rare mineral needs from the world’s largest uranium-producing nations like Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Canada.

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