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Uranium hope from Domiasiat twin site

New Delhi, Feb. 2: Encouraging exploration results have emerged from another spot in Meghalaya where mining of uranium may be feasible.

A highly placed source said data gathered from Wahkyn have been found to be 'similar' to those in Domiasiat where the existence of the yellow cake has already been proved.

'So far, the results on Wahkyn are positive. Further rounds of exploration will be conducted before the green signal for mining can be given,' the source said.

Located near Domiasiat in West Khasi Hills, Wahkyn was identified for 'intensive exploration' in a map prepared by the Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) for exploration and research two years ago.

This site was categorised along with Gogi in Karnataka, Koppunuru and Lambapur-Pedagattu in Andhra Pradesh and Rohil-Ghateswar in Rajasthan, among others, where mining was presumed to be a possibility on the basis of preliminary data.

The AMD has identified five more spots in the Northeast located in West Kameng and West Siang in Arunachal Pradesh and Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya where the possibility of mining has been presumed to be 'high'.

Sources said further exploration at these sites would be carried out later after the work was completed at the already-earmarked sites.

Concentrated deposits of uraninite (as the ore is known) are found usually in hard rock or sandstone while in India they are generally in association with chloride schist intrusions. It is the heaviest metal that occurs in nature with an unstable configuration, which means that the element gradually breaks apart or 'decays' at the atomic level.

As of now, our country has four mines at East Singhbhum in Jharkhand. The AMD's emphasis on establishing more mines could be because of the fact that its reserves are depleting fast. Efforts are on to open two more mines and a processing plant near the present mining sites.

Though the existence of the ore has been proved in Meghalaya, mining plans have been stalled due to the opposition by some NGOs, including the Khasi Students' Union.

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