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Structurally-controlled and crystalline rock-hosted uranium mineralisation in the southern environs of Cuddapah Basin, Andhra Pradesh, India



Structurally-controlled and crystalline rock-hosted uranium mineralisation in the southern environs of Cuddapah Basin, Andhra Pradesh, India



Exploration and Research for Atomic Minerals 14: 95-108



Exploration for uranium by the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research during late 1950's and early 1960's in the Mesoproterozoic Cuddapah basin was mainly directed to the basal conglomerate and overlying Gulcheru quartzite, which led to the discovery of mostly thoriferous activity. However, notable discoveries of different types of uranium mineralisation, with some of them being proved as deposits, within and in the environs of the Cuddapah basin during 1980's demonstrate that the Cuddapah basin and its environs constitute a potential uranium province. Since 1988, emphasis in exploration was shifted to the structurally-affected basement granitoids along the southern (southwestern and southeastern) environs of the basin. This led to the identification of a basement fracture-controlled uranium mineralisation in the rocks around Rayachoti in the southwestern environs and shear-controlled mineralisation near Somasila in the southeastern environs of the basin. The former around Rayachoti has emerged as the one with much potentiality demanding large exploration inputs including core-drilling. As a part of this, detailed exploration carried out in a 16 km-long fracture zone from T Sundupalle to Sanipaya (southeast of Rayachoti) has resulted in the identification of low-grade mineralisation. Reconnoitory radiometric traverses in the contiguous area north of Rayachoti have led to the discovery of over 50 mineralised fracture zones hosted by desilicified and deformed variants of granitoid, with nearby basic dyke within the fertile, pink younger granitoid at places like Mulapalle, Chenchalapalle and Burjupalle, all around Lakkireddipalle. Detailed exploration, since 1993 in these areas, has led to identification of a fracture-controlled, lensoid-shaped hydrothermal type uranium mineralisation, intimately associated with alterations of hematitisation, chloritisation and sericitisation in the sericite-chlorite-hematite mylonite/phyllonite/cataclasite, with better grade in the zones of intense hematitisation. Based upon the geological, geophysical and hydrogeochemical exploration carried out so far, it appears that the area between Mulapalle and Konampeta holds better promise due to close-spaced and intense ENE-WSW fracture system. Furthermore, the basic dykes near to the fractures and the fractures that continued below the sedimentary cover of Nagari/Gulcheru quartzites hold promise for mineralisation, and to test the same, drilling was carried out at Varikuntapalle for the former and at Madireddigaripalle for the latter, without much success. Meanwhile, potential U-mineralisation, mainly in the form of secondary U-minerals at surface, was recorded in the Gulcheru quartzite near Gandi along the southern margin of Cuddapah basin. To probe this further in subsurface and to test the basement-cover relationship of the basin in this part, drilling is underway near Gandi. Based upon the work carried out so far, it appears that the ENE-WSW fracture zones, occupied by mylonite/phyllonite and marked by intense hematitisation, within the pink younger granitoid are found to be more favourable and have been proposed as better targets. Besides, the Gulcheru quartzite, with reductants like sulphides and affected by structural disturbances, in the Gandi area and its western-southwestern extensions holds promise for better grade and easily leachable uranium mineralisation.

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