Mining of Uranium in India (By Shri S K Verma, COO, SEL)

Mining of Uranium in India
- an overview
by- Satish Kumar Verma,
COO- mining, Sadbhav engineering ltd.
Uranium is..……. Omnipresent
• The uranium is the only mineral which is omnipresent !
• Only thing matters is the grade(quality) at which its
available in the host rock.
• Even the desert of Sahara & Kutch and beaches of
Chennai have good amount of Uranium.
Uranium in India
• The presence of uranium in
India was established well
before independence by well
know scientist – Dr. Bhabha.
• The Exploration and
evaluation of minable
deposits has started by
AMD(Atomic mineral deptt).
• The Development galleries
for the confirmation of
deposits started my AMD &
MECL jointly just after
( A Govt of India undertaking)
ISO 9001:2008,
ISO 14001:2004 &
IS 18001:2007
• The Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL) was formed in
1967 with the single mines at Jaduguda, Jharkhand.
• UCIL is at the forefront of the Nuclear Power cycle fulfilling the
requirement of Uranium for the Pressurised Heavy Water
Reactors, UCIL plays a very significant role in India’s nuclear
power generation programme.
Intro……. UCIL
• The uranium exploration and prospecting of
Uranium deposits was continued by AMD and
after finalization of project by the central
government a small mines ‘Bhatin’ was started.
• Due to increased demands of the uranium in
the nation, Turamdih and Narwapahar projects
were started after consultation with the AMD,
during the decades of 1980- 90.
• The Banduhurang Opencast mines has added a
new feather on the cap of UCIL having single
opencast mines of uranium in India.
• The Bagjata and Mohuldih projects in the
Jharkhand started in 2007.
• Tumarpalli and Gogi project in Andhara Pradesh
were started in the period of 2006-07.
Plan for mine and plant construction at KP M
Operating mines at Jaduguda, Bhatin,
Narwapahar, Turamdih, Bagjata,
Banduhurang; Mohuldih;
Plants at Jaduguda and Turamdih;
Andhra Pradesh
Mine and plant construction at Tummalapalle;
Plan for construction of mine and plant at Lambapur
Plan for mine and plant construction at Gogi
Necessity of Uranium mining
• Dr. Homi J. Bhabha:
• Founder and prime architect of the Indian Atomic
Energy Programme
Evolution & deployment of different
Equipment in UCIL’s mines:
• The Jaduguda and Bhatin mines were started by pneumatic
drills and Loaders and track mounted machines with small
tub and diesel locomotives and continued with some
modifications on these machines as • Introduction of GCs, EIMCO 824 Loader, Teledyne Twin boom
drills (fixed at particular angles to drill upper holes ) .
Evolution & deployment of different
Equipment in UCIL’s mines……
• Later on Electro- hydraulic drills and
diesel operated LHDs and LPDTs were
introduced for enhancement of the
production and OMS.
• Electrical LHDs were also added to take
proper care of the mine environment.
• But due to old system of access to the
mines, depth and age of the mines,
diesel LHD & LPDTs could not be
continued in Jaduguda mines.
• Narwapahar, Turamdih and new
projects are fully equipped with Diesel
vehicles including passenger carriers &
service trucks, as the main opening of
mines is through Decline.
Evolution & deployment of different Equipment in Ur. mines:
• We can reach to the working face directly from surface
comfortably by passenger carriers.
• It give fast return in terms of production with the adaptation
of diesel equipments.
Adding up new projects
• The UCIL has opened several new projects in
the last decade to meet the demand of the
nuclear fuel and some more projects are in
the process.
• The production capacity of the existing mines
has been increasing by adapting some new
modern machines and mining method
depending upon the various controlling
parameters of the mines : • Deepening of Jaduguda mines: 1st phase –
upto 640 mts, 2nd phase – With a staple
shaft from 555 mt to 905 mt.
- presently production
comes from levels 620 mt and below with
Jumbo drills.
New projects of UCIL ………..
Narwapahar mines: A large u/g
mechanized mines, capacity enhanced
from 500 to 1000 and then up to 1400
TPD, in phased manner. Production by
Diesel equipments as LHD, LPDT and
Jumbo drill, Scissor lift, Lube trucks,
passenger carriers etc.
Mining method- initially by step mining
then following Cut & fill.
Turamdih mines:
Commissioned in 2003 and capacity enhanced from 550
to 750 and then upto 1000 TPD, in phased manner.
Production by Diesel equipment same as Narwa mines and
with BOLTEC , rock -bolting machine.
Supporting system at Turamdih mines is modernized by
introducing a “Boltec “ rock bolting machine which drills a
hole, insert the cartridges and put a R. Bolt into it.
Banduhurang mines:
First open cast mines of UCIL
commissioned in 2009
-production capacity 2400 TPD
- enhanced up to 3500 TPD.
- Tipper – Excavator
combination used for
Pit top crusher has been
Bagjata mines:
Commissioned in 2009, capacity
of 500 TPD. Entry through
Decline & Vertical shaft. The
shaft is in equipping stage.
New projects of UCIL ………..
Mohuldih mines: Opened up in 2007
and commissioned in April’ 2012,
capacity 500 TPD.
- It is 06 km west of Turamdih project
in Gamharia block of Saraikela –
Kharsuwan district in Jharkhand
- Adapted forepoling system of
support in Decline in bad rock
condition and development in hard
rock in progress.
- Second level development going on
with trackless mining system.
- Main hoisting Shaft and Ventilation
shaft sinking has been started.
- -
Mohulidh mines……..
Tumarpalle mines in AP
Opened up in 2007 and
commissioned in April’ 2012,
capacity 3000 TPD thru u/g.
-03 numbers of declines are
running parallel to each other
in low width Ore body.
- The mining method is cut &
fill trackless mining with diesel
Delineation of Uranium ore body
The presence of Uranium cannot be felt thru naked eye.
It emits Alpha, beta & Gamma rays, which are used to ascertain the grade of uranium ore body
at a particular location.
Gamma ray emission is detected/counted in GM (Geiger – Mueller ) counter and Scintillation
detectors for computing the grade/quality.
Nuclear radiation is not easy to quantify properly. Radiation detection is always a multi-step,
highly indirect process. For example, in a scintillation detector, incident radiation excites a
florescence material that de-excites by emitting photons of light. The light is focused onto the
photocathode of a photomultiplier tube that triggers an electron avalanche. The electron
shower produces an electrical pulse that activates a meter read by the operator.
bore hole logging with GM tubes is done for exploration holes and scintillation counters used in
delineation of orebody in mines.
The boundaries are marked by paint on the rock as per the readings given by such instruments.
Adaptation of modern mining methods:
Jaduguda mines was started with Open stoping and later
on different mining methods were adapted by UCIL in
different phases depending on the influencing factors
such as geological parameters and machine
availability etc , such as : 1. Shrinkage stoping
2. Cut-and-fill method- mostly in practice.
3. Step mining
4. Open cast mining at Banduhurang mines
5. Now sub-level stoping is to be adopted in Turamdih
mines, soon.
Shrinkage stoping
• This was started in Jaduguda mines while ‘open-stoping
method’ was being practiced.
• It was initially started above ground level stopes and was
subsequently used upto 230m below ground level selectively.
• Shrinkage was chosen in steep dip and narrow width (between
2m to 8m) areas. A tramming level was developed in ore and
maintained throughout the life of the stope.
• A stope drive (2.40 m x 2.20 m) was made about 5 m
above this main tramming level
following the footwall contact
of the ore body.
• Chute raises were made at 10m
interval and were bailed (sloped)
to facilitate flow of ore.
Cut-and-fill method:
• Due to easy availability of fill material from the processing
plant this method is proved to be successful and later on
became a standard practice in U/G mines of UCIL with some
modifications as ramp mining, room & pillar and Step mining.
• Selectivity of extraction and
adoptability to wide fluctuations
in width and dip of the ore body
made this a favorable method
of mining.
• Disposal of mill tailings in U/G
voids is an added advantage as it
reduces the quantity of material
disposed to tailing dam bringing
down waste management costs.
Cut-and-fill method:
• The Horizontal Cut and Fill (HCF) is a method to excavate
one slice of ore and filling back the same by waste rock,
mill tailings etc.
• This fill forms the platform for men and machinery to work
on to excavate the next slice.
• A wide variety of equipment
have been used, such as:
• Scrappers
• Track loaders
• Pneumatic loaders as
“Cavo” or “Hopper “ loaders)
• Diesel Load-Haul-Dump (LHD)
• and LPDT and Electric LHD
Mining method in Banduhurang openpit
- The deposit contains a moderately large reserve with very low grade.
- It is now a conventional opencast mine using excavator-dumper combination
maintaining ore benches of 6m height, OB/waste benches of 6m/12m height while
sustaining ROM grade and stripping parameters.
- Considering the strategic nature of mineral and low content of uranium,
computerized ore body modeling and mine planning was carried out using SURPAC
- Open-pit mining method was chosen as the most favorable option and the pit
limits were optimized using WHITTLE software. Layout of the mine was finalized
with all finer details.
Radioactivity and Radiation
- Radiation is part of our environment.
- The food we consume also gives us some radiations. The average
dose that a person receives from background radiation in nature
amounts to 1 to 2 mSv per year.
- In some areas of high natural background radiations such as the
monazite rich thorium bearing mineral sands of kerala coastal tracts,
radiation levels can reach upto 20 mSv per year.
- Radon gas emanated from building materials containing U and Th in
trace quantities inside homes can add 1 to 3 mSv per year.
Natural Background Radiation
 Cosmic – from the sun and outer space – 0.4 mSv.yr-1.
 Terrestrial – from the Earth’s crust
 Radon – from decay of U/Ra
- 0.5 mSv.yr-1.
- 1.2 mSv.yr-1.
 Internal - sources in the body (e.g.40 K) – 0.3 mSv.yr-1.
 Total dose from natural sources
- 2.4 mSv.yr-1.
Radiation monitoring
• At UCIL, monitoring is done on both external and internal radiation levels that
the mine and other workers receive . It has been found that the radiation
doses received by individual workers had ranged from about 1 to 10 mSv/yr,
which is far below the limit prescribed by ICRP (50 mSv/yr) and significantly
below the annual average dose of 20-mSv set by AERB.
 External Radiation Monitoring
Survey meter
Surface and personal Contamination
 Internal Radiation Monitoring
Radon Monitoring and Dosimetry using Solid State Nuclear Track Detector.
Air Activity Measurement.
Lung Burden.
Radon / Thoron in Breath.

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