Govt surveying Upper Mustang for uranium

A team from the Department of Mines and Geology (DoMG) is carrying out a ground radiometric survey for uranium in Upper Mustang.

The radiometric survey which includes geological mapping will involve collecting rock chip samples from a 100 sq km area stretching from Kagbeni to Lomanthang.

Spokesperson at the DoMG, Krishna Dev Jha, informed that the team is currently studying different areas in Mustang in a bid to collect samples for lab tests.

“The study is being carried out in 100 sq km including Muktinath area in Upper Mustang and preliminary study has shown that there is a large deposit of uranium there,” Jha said.

The DoMG plans to manufacture yellowcake, which is a form of semi-refined uranium, as the ongoing studies have shown presence of uranium in Mustang and Baitadi. Uranium is considered to be one of the most expensive minerals in the world.

Prior to conducting the study in Mustang district, the three-member team had studied 25 sq km in Banga Bagar in Baitadi district last month. The DoMG had searched for uranium in Gorang of Baitadi district in 2001. The recent study in Baitadi was based on the indication of radioactive particles in the area 13 years ago.

“The current study was based on the indication we received in 2001 but we couldn´t conduct the study earlier due to lack of lab equipment and skilled manpower,” he concluded.

Jha, however, said that the department will take some time to come up with its final conclusion about the existence of uranium as saying that they are still in the exploration phase.

“Even though we can´t construct a thermal plant now, we can make money out of the uranium, if found, by selling yellowcakes,” he said.

Source: Republica