Garuda Vasudha to detect deep-seated mineral deposits in the country

Garuda Vasudha to detect deep-seated  mineral deposits in the country

 The country’s first Advanced Light Helicopter equipped with Heliborne Geophysical Survey System (HGSS) that will be used for detecting deep-seated mineral deposits, was unveiled by the Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd here on Wednesday. India is the seventh country in the world to use the technology.

The ‘Garuda Vasudha’ as it is called, is a result of an integration of the HGSS equipment procured from Pico Environtec Inc in Canada with the Dhruv category helicopter, which have been brought to gather by HAL at a total cost of Rs 73 crore. The HGSS equipment consist of four aerogeophysical sensors namely - Time Domain Electromagnetic, Magnetic, Spectrometric and Gravimetric along with Data Acquisition Systems. 

The helicopter was officially handed over to the Geological Survey of India (GSI). Low ground clearance and tight line flying in terrain, slower flying rates and higher data density, ability to operate in remote and rugged terrains and to keep sensors close to the ground are some of the features of the Garuda Vasudha. Speaking on the sidelines of the programme, GSI Director General, S K Wadhawan said: “The fixed wing aircraft that has been used till now flies at a high altitude and is fast. The conventional equipments lack penetration. With the new equipment we can look for mineral deposits that are even buried at the depths of 300 meter. We can also integrate the geographical maps in the system that will help us target other areas in a more detailed way,” he said.    

The Garuda Vasudha will be used in a week’s time in a few areas in Karnataka that have already been identified by the GSI. Effort will be to find deposits of copper, gold and other strategic minerals, Wadhawan added.

Union Minister for Mines (MoM), Dinsha Patel who spoke through teleconferencing from Delhi said the country had huge reserves of minerals, however, considering developmental needs of the future more minerals were required. “…the National Mineral Policy 1993 and 2003 were formulated which had made regional exploration, detailed investigation and actual mining more effective through reforms…therefore the MoM has provided sophisticated equipments to the GSI under the modernisation plan. The procurement of the helicopters with latest sensors for aerial surveys is a step forward in this direction,” Patel added.

Patel also laid the foundation stone for a Centre for Excellence at Bangalore, as part of the modernisation programme of the GSI. It will be equipped with state-of-the-art machines to carry out “diverse geocentric studies”. Other such centres are located in Faridabad and Kolkata.

HAL, Chairman, R K Tyagi announced a number of future plans of the HAL during his speech. In the next five years, HAL is aiming an investment of Rs 11,000 crore for manufacturing helicopters and aircrafts. A design and development management board and a national aeronautical coordinated group will also be working on coordinating efforts of manufacturing from all over the country.

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