Vanadium found in Arunachal Pradesh: How is this significant for India?
Why in News?
Geological Survey of India, GSI has found reserves of Vanadium in Arunachal Pradesh. It is a very rare, hard, silvery grey element with ductile and malleable properties and good structural strength.
- It is found in more than 60 different minerals/ores that include vanadinite, carnotite, roscoelite and patronite.
- It was discovered by Spanish mineralogist Andreas Manuel del Rio.
- He named it Erythronium but thought that it was just an impure version of chromium.
- In the periodic table, it is symbolised as V
- The colour of the element is silver and it has great structural strength.
- It is listed as a transition metal which means it is a very good conductor of heat and electricity.
Uses of Vanadium:
- Vanadium finds its uses in many of the following areas:
- Vanadium can be used to make steel alloys for use in space vehicles, nuclear reactors etc
- It can be used to make tools, axels, piston rods, girders etc.
- Vanadium Redox Batteries are used to create a reliable renewable energy source
- It is used in ceramics as a pigment
- Vanadium Gallium tapes are used in superconducting magnets
- Vanadium is used in the treatment of heart diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol etc.
- It is useful in creating nuclear reactors. Vanadium is the first choice for mixing with steel alloy used for a nuclear reactor.
About Vanadium in Arunanchal Pradesh
This by far is the first time any primary deposit of vanadium has been reported in India. Listed below are the finding sites of Vanadium in Arunachal Pradesh:
- The paleo-proterozoic (era) carbonaceous phyllite rocks of Arunachal Pardesh consist of Vanadium concentrates. It is found in Depo and Tamang regions of Papum Pare district there.
- Phyllite happens to be a fine-grained metamorphic rock that forms through recrystallization of homogeneously grained, sedimentary rocks like mudstone or shale.
- Sedimentary rocks that contain a certain amount of enriched organic matter are called carbonaceous sedimentary rocks.
- There are many other potential sites spread across various districts in Arunachal Pradesh that need proper research.
How was it found in AP?
It was during the exploration when the team of geologists discovered two bands of 7-meter thick carbonaceous phyllite rocks of length exceeding 6 km in Depo area. Geologists then decided to start finding more and stretch their research to other areas in Arunachal as well.
They found a promising quantity of the metal in a rock 15.5 km long and 7 meters thick in Saiya, Deed, and Phop areas of the Lower Subansiri district.
Some quantities were also found in Palin-Sangram- Kra Daadi, Pakke-Kesang district, Kalamati- West Siang, Kaying in Siang district, and Kalaktang in West Kameng.
- India has been an active consumer of vanadium but this is for the first time vanadium would be produced in the country. China which has been a source full of vanadium consisting of the highest reserves of the element till now will face not be the source now India has to rely on for its demand of vanadium.
- In India currently, it is recovered as a by-product of slag from processed vanadiferous magnetite ores. As per GSI, India’s consumption of vanadium is 4% of the global demand which can now be fulfilled through its indigenous source.
- The highest production of vanadium is in China, followed by Russia and South Africa.
India’s Efforts for Vanadium extraction:
- Reliance Industries Limited has designed a low-cost temperature hybrid green process that can be used to extract vanadium from gasifier slag. The project is now being scaled up from laboratory to pilot level.
- NALCO has also completed lab-scale studies to recover vanadium sludge using Bayers process from Bayers liquors.
- Also, Lanjigarh Alumina has discovered in house process of extraction of vanadium pentaoxide from bauxite with a little consumption of energy.
Vanadium is a rare earth metal that finds many properties suitable for generating tensile strength and finds usage in various high-end projects. Now that India has found some of the metal extracts in one of its states, it must focus on bringing technology to extract it in its purest form. This discovery could bring huge benefits to the Indian economy as well.