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US offers technical expertise for mining in Meghalaya
Correspondent SHILLONG, SEPT 3:
Published on 3 Sep. 2009 11:29 PM IST
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US Consul General Beth A Payne said on Thursday said the US can partner with India to mine Uranium safely without harming the environment based on their experiences learnt over the years. In an interaction with Shillong-based journalists here, Payne said the US has years of experience in mining Uranium safely. “We would be glad to share its expertise with India to mine Uranium in Meghalaya,” she said. The UCIL had proposed an Rs 1,046-crore open-cast uranium mining and processing plant at Mawthabah in the West Khasi Hills district, which has an estimated deposit of 9.22 million tonne of uranium ore. The UCIL, however, has failed to drum up support for the project, with several NGOs and anti-mining, civil and human rights groups opposing the proposed mining fearing environment and health hazard. When asked about doubts raised here about Uranium mining safety, Payne said, such apprehensions were raised in the US too, but eventually after proper discussion the majority decision was taken. She however said that the majority view must be taken in India which like the US was a country with strong democratic foundations with a free press to disseminate information on the pros and cons of Uranium mining so that people can take an informed decision on the controversial issue. “If a choice is made to go for mining of Uranium here in Meghalaya the US is ready to help with its technical expertise to assist India to safely mine the ore,” Payne said. United States is the leading producer of Uranium in the world from the early 1950s. The production at point peaked over 1600 ton. There are extensive mining sites in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas and other states across the US. In India Uranium has been discovered in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya (West Khasi Hills), moreover, exploratory works are on in Karnataka and Rajasthan. The ore is however not as extensively distributed in India as in the US. US will not distant itself from Pakistan: Payne Despite Pakistan being a spawning ground of some of the most radical terrorist organizations in the world the United States is not considering to distant itself from that country, US Consul General, Beth A Payne, said here on Thursday. Addressing media persons at the end of her three-day visit to Meghalaya, Payne said it is not US policy to be Pakistan centric or India centric but to further strengthen relations with both the countries. “Our goal is to see Pakistan be a stable democratic country,” she added. In reply to a question on recent reports that Pakistan was modifying Harpoon anti-ship missiles and the P-3C aircraft for land attack mission, which are of concern to India, Payne said the US has taken these reports seriously and was looking into these allegations. On the India-US Nuclear deal and how it would benefit India, Payne said the agreement opens up avenues for India to go for energy which is viable and clean. The deal, she said, will also enable India to obtain nuclear equipment which was earlier denied to it. Some of the areas where the US could help India are harnessing coal for producing clean energy, Payne said.

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