Rare Metals (RM) include Niobium (Nb), Tantalum (Ta), Lithium (Li), Beryllium (Be), Cesium (Cs) etc. and Rare Earths (RE) include Lanthanum (La) to Lutetium (Lu) besides Scandium (Sc) and Yttrium (Y). These metals are strategic in nature with wide application in the nuclear and other high tech industries such as electronics, telecommunication, information technology, space, defense etc. RMRE investigation group has been carrying out investigations for the last six decades in favourable geological environments to establish the resource base of these metals. Important minerals of these metals are beryl (Be), lepidolite (Li), spodumene (Li), amblygonite (Li), columbite-tantalite (Nb-Ta), pyrochlore (Nb) and xenotime (Y and REE).
In the nuclear power programme of the country, uranium plays the key role. The first stage of three-stage programme of the Department is based on PHWRs which are fuelled by natural uranium. The second stage envisages utilization of plutonium produced in the first stage and the third stage is based on thorium fuel. Therefore, apart from uranium, AMD has also been engaged in locating and evaluating the mineral resources of thorium and other nuclear raw materials, such as zirconium, beryllium, lithium, etc. required for implementing the above programme. These minerals, such as ilmenite, rutile (titanium minerals), zircon (zirconium mineral), monazite (thorium and REE mineral) along with garnet and sillimanite, occur abundantly along the eastern and western coastal plains of the country as well as in some inland placers of Tamil Nadu,Bihar and West Bengal. Amongst these, ilmenite, rutile, zircon and monazite are grouped as prescribed substances under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.AMD has the mandate to explore and evaluate the resources of these minerals.Of the nearly 6000 km. coastal length of the country nearly one third has been explored so far and a large tonnages of these minerals established.
Airborne Survey and Remote Sensing (ASRS) Group is responsible for airborne (fixed wing / helicopter) geophysical survey data acquisition, processing, interpretation, integration, modelling and generation of thematic maps to delineate target areas for further survey and exploration for uranium mineralisation. AMD commenced airborne survey way back in1955 with indigenously designed and developed Gamma Ray Total Count System. High sensitivity Airborne Gamma Ray Spectrometer (AGRS) with larger volume (50 litres) NaI (Tl) detector and proton precession magnetometer was designed, developed and deployed for survey in 1972. The AGRS interfaced with Cs-vapour magnetometer and Global Positioning System was extensively flown during 1997 to 2002. A total of 5 lakh line km data was acquired with these systems using fixed wing platform.
Geophysical surveys are mainly employed in modern uranium exploration programme for investigation of concealed uranium deposits. It is the integral part of multi-disciplinary uranium exploration programme of the organization. Geophysical techniques are particularly utilised in understanding sub surface geology, delineating subsurface structures, locating the alteration zones and the association of metallic minerals sulphides, graphite and carbonaceous phyllites having bearing on ore localization.Geophysical surveys have been effectively utilised in establishing continuity of uranium mineralization in parts of Singhbhum Shear Zone (SSZ), Jharkhand; Aravalli and Delhi fold belts Rohil-Ghateshwar and Mawata-Jahaj area, Sikar district, Rajasthan; Umra area, Udaipur district, Rajasthan; Arbail area, North Kanara district, Karnataka; and in Bhima Basin, Gulbarga district, Karnataka.
Drilling is the key performance indicator of any exploration activity. In AMD, drilling activities are coordinated by Departmental and Contract Drilling Groups. A total of 2,189.88km of departmental and 1,058.84km contract drilling (as on May, 2017), have been carried out in different parts of the country for augmentation of uranium resources.