ONGC drills for uranium in Rajasthan and MP

Vol 18, PW 8 (04 Dec 14) Exploration & Production

In 1998, India launched itself as a nuclear power with the Shakti tests at Pokhran in Rajasthan, earning itself widespread criticism from the international community as well as grudging respect.

But the country also has a peaceful nuclear power programme, with 21 reactors in operation. It is to feed this latter programme that ONGC has selected drillers to hunt for uranium.

On December 1, ONGC opened price bids in its tender to hire diamond-core drilling rigs to drill at three blocks: Suket and Barmer-Sanchor in Rajasthan and Son Valley in Madhya Pradesh. ONGC has selected Kolkata-based Maheshwari Mining to drill 18 coreholes at Suket and 10 at Son Valley while Asansol-headquartered Mining Associates has won a contract to drill six coreholes at Barmer-Sanchor.

ONGC issued the rig tender on October 17 and received technical and price bids from Maheshwari Mining, Mining Associates, APC Drilling and South West Pinnacle on November 10. “Our scope of work is to drill vertical to inclined coreholes,” says a Maheshwari source.

“Each corehole will be drilled to up to 700 metres.” Both Maheshwari Mining and Mining Associates expect ONGC to issue LoIs by December 18.

ONGC wants the first corehole completed within 60 days. “A 550 metre corehole can be completed in around 12 days,” we hear.

“A 700 metre corehole can take up to 16 days.” Core samples will be analysed using geological, geochemical and radiological methods.