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Andhra Pradesh, a Southeastern, coastal Indian state may be home to one of the largest Uranium reserves in the world, according to Reuters. The deposits are said to be spread out over 35 kilometers (25 miles).The Tumalappalli mine has confirmed 49,000 tonnes of ore but reports suggest that it could have reserves that total 150,000 tones. The uranium however is not high-grade.
Data from the Department of Atomic Energy says that ore extracted in Jaduguda, Jarkhand, an eastern Indian state is of 0.065 grade, while the one at the Tumalappalli mine in Andhra is of 0.045 grade according to Tehelka. So, an extractor that would get 65 gram of usable Uranium from a 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of ore in Jaduguda, would only get 45 gram in Tumalappalli. Most of India’s uranium goes towards developing nuclear power and the amount is unlikely to be enough for the uranium hungry country.
Moreover Uranium mining is extremely pricey in India, since it is state-controlled. The IAEA says international standards price competitively at anywhere between $80 – $130 a pound. India however consistently spends over $130 a pound and mining the 49,000 ores currently found, would cost at least $14.1 million. Mining for better quality ore around the country have been stalled because of protests.
The finding was reported to coincide with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s visit to India. Excluding the Tumalappalli mine, India’s uranium reserves are said to total 175,000 tonnes, below the reserves needed to meet the requirement of India’s nuclear programme.