India to explore uranium in Tajikistan

India to explore uranium in Tajikistan

President Patils visit to ex-Soviet state brings significant gain

In one of the more significant gains of President Pratibha Patil’s visit to Russia and Tajikistan, the government of Emamoli Rahman in Tajikistan has agreed to allow Indian companies to explore uranium deposits in that country.

Sources said the Indian suggestion during a delegation-level meeting that India should be given access to explore the known deposits of uranium in Tajikistan for ‘mutual benefit’ was immediately accepted by the Tajik side.

It was pointed out that the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd was already involved in uranium extraction in India for decades and the company had the requisite technological capability to operate uranium mines.

Sources said senior officials of the department of atomic energy and the UCIL would travel to Dushanbe shortly to finalise the deal. Some Russian and Chinese companies are already into exploration of uranium in Tajikistan, which is rich in minerals.

After the signing of the Indo-US nuclear deal and various non-proliferation related agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency, India has been on the lookout for uranium supplies.

India extracts a small quantity of uranium from Jaduguda mines in Jharkhand, but it barely meets the existing domestic requirements. The Geological Survey of India has indicated the availability of natural uranium ore in a few more locations in Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka (on the banks of a river in North Karnataka), but it is still in an exploratory stage.