VISAKHAPATNAM: The Geological Survey of India (GSI), which recently identified rich deposits of rare and valuable heavy sand minerals in 160 blocks along the Andhra Pradesh coastline having an estimated volume of 38,642 million tonnes, will submit a report of its findings to the Centre on Friday.
The estimated value of these deposits has been pegged at Rs 46,000 crore. As a whole, the AP coastline has 160 blocks of rare and heavy minerals including 24 at Bheemili area and 13 near Pudimadaka.
These two areas contain nearly 4,302 million tonnes of deposits which may be valued at Rs 6,000 crore on exploration,” N Kutumba Rao, Director General (DG) of GSI, said. After the government approves the report, global tenders may be floated for exploration, he added. The GSI said the valuable minerals include zirconium, garnet, alumilite, sillimanite, rutile, traces of monazite and titanium dioxide.
These mineral deposits were located at a depth 10 metres in the sea. To work on deep water research projects and for exploration at depths of 300 metres, the GSI signed an agreement with Vietnam for purchase of an ultra-modern deep water exploration capacity ‘Geo Technical Vessel’ (GTV) at an estimated cost of Rs 250 crore.“At present, we are able to go to a depth of only 100 metres.
To acquire the capacity to penetrate much deeper, we are getting a GTV with advanced technologies. This GTV is now at the construction stage and is likely to be brought into service by the end of 2019,” GV Vidyasagar, Deputy DG-Vizag revealed.
After signing an MoU with Geosciences Australia for assistance for three years, GSI made intensive search of minerals beyond 300 metres from the coast, ranging up to 1,000 metres.
It will be carried out under the deep seismic reflection survey. A pilot project under the name ‘Project Uncover’ had been launched in Bundelkhand area of North India and Kadapa and Dharwad areas of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka last year to tap the unexploited resources.