Mineral processing in the Indian nuclear energy programme
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Uranium is the basic raw material for a nuclear energy programme. Uranium ore is processed in India by the well-known method of sulphuric acid, ion-exchange concentration and its final precipitation as magnesium diuranate—‘yellow cake’. We have established a process for uranium recovery from the tailings of copper concentrators which also enables recovery of small amounts of copper, nickel and molybdenum present in the uranium ore. Another major activity of this centre has been the exploitation of mineral-rich beach sands to produce ilmenite, rutile, zircon and monazite. Downstream industries have also been established for chemical processing of these minerals. Production of niobium from low-grade ores and beryllium from beryl ore is also being carried out on a moderate scale.
KeywordsMineral processing nuclear energy programme uranium extraction niobium production
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