The Upper Mustang region in Nepal bordering China could have large deposits of uranium, says a recent survey.
The ground radiometric survey was carried out recently in the remote Himalayan region by a team from the department of mines and geology.
“We have found large amount of radioactive material in the rocks of that region, thus confirming the presence of uranium deposit,” Director General of the department Sarabjeet Prasad Mahato told the Himal weekly.
Though the quality of the uranium is yet to be ascertained, preliminary research suggests that the deposit spread over an area of 10km in length and 3km in width could be of medium grade.
This is not the first time uranium deposits have been found in Nepal. The department had earlier found such deposits in Makwanpur district close to the capital Kathmandu.
“But the deposit in Upper Mustang appears to be larger and of better quality,” Deputy DG Hifzur Rahman told the magazine.
Research carried out in the past had detected uranium in 25 places spread across the country but only three of them were found to have significantly large concentration of the radioactive ore.
Despite discovery of another large deposit in Upper Mustang it may not be possible to extract the expensive ore easily.
Nepal doesn’t have the required infrastructure to conduct further research on the quality of uranium found in the region. The large amount of fund needed to extract the ore is also another issue.
The country also doesn’t have any law regarding extraction of uranium.
But the department says if the deposit in Upper Mustang is found to be of good quality Nepal can take help of foreign agencies to extract the ore and export unprocessed uranium concentrate.
Such concentrate called ‘yellow cake’ which contains sand, earth and stones along with the ore could fetch over $100 per kg depending on its quality.