Correct Answer - Option 3 : thorium
Atomic minerals are the most important among non-fossil energy resources.
- They are found in the slate rocks of the pre-Cambrian (Archean Schist) and Dharwar periods in India.
- Uranium and Thorium are major minerals for the production of atomic energy.
- Uranium is mined directly whereas thorium is obtained mainly from monazite and limonite.
- Thorium is also obtained from beryllium, zircon, antimony, and graphite.
Atomic minerals in India:
Uranium: It is found in the Singhbhum and Hazaribagh districts of Jharkhand, and Gaya District of Bihar, and in the sedimentary rocks of the Saharanpur District of Uttar Pradesh.
- The largest source of uranium comprises the monazite sands, both beach and alluvial.
- Monazite sand rich in uranium is found in Kerala.
- Some uranium is found in the copper and zinc mines of Udaipur (Rajasthan).
- The total reserves of uranium as estimated by the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, are about 31,000 tonnes.
Thorium: It is derived from monazite.
- It is produced in Kerala, Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan.
- In addition to uranium and thorium, beryllium and lithium are also atomic minerals found mainly in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
Beryllium: Its reserves are in the states of Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
Zircon: It is found mainly in the coastal sand of Kerala.
Antimony: It is found in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Graphite: Odisha is the largest producer of graphite. Its largest reserve is in Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu. Its reserves are also in Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh.
Thus, we can conclude that the atomic mineral found along the Kerala coast is Thorium.