4 thoughts on “Q: What type of exploration method should be adopted for exploration of Nb and Ta metals, and also REE?

  1. The Nb-Ta minerals can be targetted in alkaline complexes ( carbonatite and other alkaline rocks) and in pegmatite belts. Most of the world Niobium comes from carbonatites ( pyrochlore is the mineral) and tantalum comes from columbite-tantalite occurring in highly differentiated zoned pegmatites or some times in specialised granites. The worldwide major source of REE is rock carbonatite with major mineral bastnasite (CeCO3) however in India at present it is beach sand monazite.
    Most of the minerals of Nb-Ta and REE contains uranium and thorium in variable concentrations. Therefore radioactive survey is suitable and may be helpful to locate them first by airborne and then ground radiometric surveys. The minerals of Nb-Ta and also REE are heavy minerals ( Sp. gr. >3) therefore, the gravity survey is also helpful along with a radiometric survey to fix the drill targets.


  2. On behalf of Dr. A. Sundaramoorthy, former DG, GSI
    “…Nb,Ta and Li are Rare Earth elements found in l acid intrusive like pegmatite quartz veins. Also in granite…”


  3. The terrain that is to be looked for REE are 1. Coastal mineral sands of Eastern and Western tracts of India, mainly Monazite for LREES. in the states of Odiisha, Andhra,T. Nadu, Kerala,Maharashtra and Gujrat 2. Inland stream placers (Monazite,zircon, garnet) 3. Xenotime bearing stream placers mainly along Chotanagpur granite gneissic complex of Jharkhand and MP 4. Carbonatites hosted LREEs , like the Ambadongar and Kamthi of Gujrat being potential deposits for HREEs , Samchampi carbonatites in Northeast 5. Peralkaline–Alkaline felsic rocks, mainly Siwana ring complex of Western India, with fine grained granites, micro granites etc. Some granites in S. India may also be potential sources for the REEs.


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