Exploitation of Atomic Minerals in India (Download PDF)

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10.98 million tonnes of resources of Molybdenum Ore is located in Tamil Nadu, but Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has not taken up any project for exploitation of Molybdenum available near Harur Taluk, Dharmapuri District in Tamil Nadu.

Map of Molybdenum available near Harur in Tamil Nadu

Map of Molybdenum Available Near Harur in Tamil Nadu

Map of Molybdenum available near Harur in Tamil Nadu

Exploitation of Uranium, Thorium, Niobium, Tantalum, Beryllium, Lithium, Zirconium, Titanium, Rare Earths (Containing Uranium & Thorium) Besides Beach Sand Minerals like Garnet & Sillimanite

  • Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration & Research (AMD), constituent unit of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), has mandate to identify, evaluate & augment mineral resources of uranium, thorium, niobium, tantalum, beryllium, lithium, zirconium, titanium, rare earths (containing uranium & thorium) besides beach sand minerals like garnet & sillimanite according to Mines & Minerals Development & Regulation Act, 1957.

  • During last 6 & half decades, AMD has identified adequate resources of atomic minerals in country.

  • Details of resources of atomic minerals as on May, 2018:

  • Uranium –3,00,034 tonne uranium oxide (U3O8)

  • Beach Sand Minerals [BSM] – 1,173.07 million tonne

  • Resources of minerals comprising BSM are given below:

  • Thorium (as monazite) - 12.47 million tonne (1.12 million tonne ThO2)

  • Mineral monazite, containing ~ 55 - 60 % total Rare Earth Elements (REE), is major resource for REE.

  • AMD has established ~ 2,000 tonne of ~2 % xenotime (yttrium + REE mineral) - bearing heavy mineral concentrate.

  • Titanium (as ilmenite, leucoxene & rutile) - 682.30 million tonne

  • Zirconium (as zircon) - 35.75 million tonne

  • Garnet - 187.46 million tonne

  • Sillimanite -255.09 million tonne

  • Mining lease deed b/w applicant & State Govt. is executed by respective State Govt. subject to production of approved mining plan & other statutory permissions issued by various Govt. Departments.

  • Uranium deposits established by AMD are mined by Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), PSU of DAE.

  • In respect of beach sand minerals, mining operations are being carried out by both PSUs & private entrepreneurs.

  • In respect of other atomic minerals like beryl, columbite, tantalite, lepidolite etc. , no specific mining operations are being carried out except their recovery as by-products incidental to prospecting operations.

Molybdenum Ore

  • Molybdenite, known as molybdena, is soft black mineral that was once used to make pencils.

  • It is known to be molybdenum disulfide (MoS2).

  • Element name comes from Greek word ‘molybdos’ meaning lead.

  • Harmful effects:

    Molybdenum is toxic in all but small quantities.

  • Characteristics:

    • Molybdenum is silvery-white, high-melting metal.

    • It does not react w/oxygen or water at room temp. & it resists corrosion at ordinary temperatures.

    • Molybdenum exists mostly in oxidation state IV & VI.

    • Molybdenum is one of 5 major refractory metals (metals w/very high resistance to heat & wear). Other refractory metals are tungsten, tantalum, rhenium & niobium.

  • Uses of Molybdenum:

    • Molybdenum is used in small quantities to harden steel & is used in many alloys.

    • Molybdenum’s strength & resistance to expanding or softening at high temp. is sought after in critical areas where high temp. are common, such as in nuclear power plants & aircraft engines.

    • Molybdenum is used as glass furnace electrodes due to its high melting point.

    • It is also in petroleum industry, to catalyze removal of organic sulfur compounds in coal liquification & gas liquification processes.

    • Molybdenum is essential trace element for animals & plants. As w/selenium.

    • Molybdenum is vital component of nitrogenase enzyme which allows conversion of nitrogen gas in air into nitrates vital for plant growth.

    • Molybdenum is present in 20 or so enzymes needed in animals’ metabolisms.

Atomic Minerals

  • Atomic minerals are most imp. among non-fossil energy resources.

  • They are found in slate rocks of pre-Cambrian (Archean Schist) & Dharwar periods in India.

  • Uranium & Thorium are major minerals for production of atomic energy.

  • Uranium is mined directly whereas for thorium is obtained mainly from monazite & limonite.

  • Thorium is obtained from beryllium, zircon, antimony and graphite.

Atomic Minerals in India

Map of Atomic Minerals in India

Map of Atomic Minerals in India

Map of Atomic Minerals in India

  • Uranium:

    • It is found in Singhbhum & Hazaribagh of Jharkhand, & Gaya of Bihar, & in sedimentary rocks of Saharanpur of UP.

    • Largest source of uranium comprise monazite sands, both beach & alluvial.

    • Monazite sand rich in uranium is found in Kerala.

    • Some uranium is found in copper & zinc mines of Udaipur (Rajasthan).

    • Total reserves of uranium as estimated by DAE, GOI, are about 31,000 tonnes.

    • Thorium:

    • It is derived from monazite.

    • It is produced in Kerala, Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, & Rajasthan.

    • In addition to uranium & thorium, beryllium & lithium are atomic minerals found mainly in Jharkhand, MP, & Rajasthan.

    • Beryllium:

    • Its reserves are in Rajasthan, Jharkhand, AP & Tamil Nadu.

    • Zircon:

    • It is found mainly in coastal sand of Kerala.

    • Antimony:

    • It is found HP & MP.

    • Graphite:

  • Odisha is largest producer of graphite.

  • Its largest reserve is in Ramanathpuram in Tamil Nadu.

  • Its reserves are in Jharkhand, Rajasthan & Andhra Pradesh.

Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research

  • Established in – 1948

  • Headquarter – Hyderabad

Department of Atomic Energy

  • Formed in – 1954

  • Headquarter – Mumbai, Maharashtra

- Published/Last Modified on: September 21, 2018

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