Martin C Fairclough1, Adrian J Fabris1, Baohong Hou1 and Sue J Daly2. 1 Geological Survey ...... Minotaur Resources Ltd and Oxiana. Ltd, and has a number of ...
Uranium: South Australian state of play
Martin C Fairclough1, Adrian J Fabris1, Baohong Hou1 and Sue J Daly2 1 Geological Survey Branch, PIRSA 2 Mineral Promotions Branch, PIRSA
Introduction MUSGRAVE PROVINCE
MESA Journal 41
Mount Painter Beverley Olympic Dam Acropolis Wirrda Well Warrior CURNAMONA Oak Dam PROVINCE Goulds Dam Emmie Bluff Honeymoon Ceduna Yarranna 1 Crockers Well Radium Hill Port Augusta CARIEWERLOO BASIN
200 km BASIN
Figure 1 Selected uranium deposits and prospects in South Australia.
Sandstone (roll-front) deposits. Hosted by medium to coarse-grained ÀXYLDOPDUJLQDOPDULQHRUDOOXYLDOVDQGV Uranium mineralisation results from the LQWHUDFWLRQRIXUDQLXPULFKR[LGLVLQJÀXLGV and reduced lithologies (i.e. redox fronts). The controlling factor on sandstone uranium ore is sedimentary facies and its association with reducing agents (e.g. FDUERQDFHRXVPDWHULDOVXO¿GHVDQG ferromagnesian rich basic volcanics). 6RXWK$XVWUDOLDFRQWDLQVVLJQL¿FDQW examples of this style of deposit. They include Beverley, Honeymoon, East Kalkaroo and Gould’s Dam within the Tertiary Callabonna Sub-basin, and Warrior and Yarranna prospects of the
Breccia complex deposits. Hosted by breccias formed at high crustal levels in active hydrothermal systems (r phreatomagmatic) and are associated with regionally uranium enriched country rocks. Examples of this type of deposit include the Proterozoic iron oxide – copper–gold (IOCG) Olympic Dam deposit of the Gawler Craton. Olympic 'DPOLHVLQDEHOWGH¿QHGDVDQ,2&* province (Ferris and Schwarz, 2003) which also hosts the smaller Acropolis, Wirrda Well, Canegrass and Oak Dam breccia-uranium prospects. The Mt Painter uranium occurrences are hosted by the Palaeozoic Radium Ridge Breccias (Drexel and Major, 1990) and show some similar characteristics to breccias at 2O\PSLF'DP2IPRVWVLJQL¿FDQFHDUH the Armchair, Streitberg, Radium Ridge and Mt Gee prospects. The Olympic Dam deposit with 3810 Mt at 0.04% U3O8 (1.524 Mt contained U3O8) contains 38% of the world’s resource.
Deposit styles South Australia is prospective for four main uranium deposit styles — breccia complexes, sandstone (roll-front) style, vein related and unconformity–redox related. Other styles not listed may also be possible, but as yet no indications have been proposed.
The current surge in the uranium commodity price has led to a renewed interest for uranium exploration. South Australia is well placed as it contains PDQ\NQRZQGHSRVLWVDQGVLJQL¿FDQW uranium-enriched geological units (Fig. 1; Cooper and McGeough, 2006). The state hosts the world’s largest uranium deposit, Olympic Dam, which contains 65% of Australia’s reserves plus resources (McKay and Miezitis, 2001). Similarly, Mt Painter is renown as being one of the most radiogenic locations in the world. Mt Painter is host to over 40 historic mines and prospects (Coats and Blissett, 1971) and is the source of uranium to the Tertiary Beverley uranium mine.
Tertiary Eucla Basin. The Beverley deposit is the only deposit of its type currently being mined in Australia. Mining operations commenced in 1999 with a resource of 21 Mt ore at 0.18% U3O8 (21 600 t contained U3O8). Vein style deposits. Hosted by cavity ¿OOHJIUDFWXUHVYHLQVDSRSK\VHV DQG can be related to fault planes and shear ]RQHV7KHPRVWVLJQL¿FDQWDUHDIRU this style of deposit in South Australia has historically been at Radium Hill and Crocker Well within the Willyama Supergroup of the Curnamona Province. Radium Hill was mined for uranium between 1954–61. The remaining resource is 876 462 t at 0.0951% U3O8. The Crocker
State of play
Well area encompasses three prospects with a combined resource of >10 Mt at 0.05% U3O8. Mt Painter also contains VLJQL¿FDQWXUDQLXPPLQHUDOLVDWLRQRI this style which include the higher grade Hodgkinson prospect with a historical estimate of 226 800 t at 0.25% U3O8 (567 t contained U3O8). Marathon Resources Ltd recently announced a JORC (Joint Ore Resource Committee) compliant Inferred Resource of 56.8 Mt for 33 276 t of contained U3O8 with a cutoff of 0.06%. Unconformity–redox related models. These have not traditionally been explored for in South Australia. Examples of this style of deposit are found in the Pine Creek Inlier, Northern Territory, and include the Alligator Rivers Field (Ranger, Jabiluka), Rum Jungle and South Alligator Valley Fields. Mineralisation occurs immediately below and/or above major unconformities separating basement from overlying clastic sediments. A similar architecture occurs on the Gawler Craton. Mesoproterozoic sandstones of the Pandurra Formation unconformably overly the uranium enriched PalaeoMesoproterozoic Hutchinson Group, Hiltaba Suite granitiods and Gawler Range Volcanics. Potential mineralised hosts include reduced facies of the Pandurra Formation or fractured zones of the Hutchinson Group.
Uranium map The creation of a 3D Exploration Geology working group within the Geological Survey Branch of PIRSA is leading to more detailed studies of metallogenic provinces and mineral systems, particularly with the aim of promoting prospective areas or targets for follow up by company exploration. One of the main strategies is to produce mineral potential maps of various commodities and GHSRVLWVW\OHVDQGWKH¿UVWVWDJHLQWKLV is to outline the key ingredients for each VSHFL¿FH[DPSOH7KLVKDVWKHSXUSRVHRI identifying the availability of data and the corresponding appropriate data collection and analytical approach necessary. As an interim framework for future work, the key ingredients for uranium mineralisation have been compiled and displayed on a 1:2 000 000 scale map available to the public — South Australian Uranium Occurrences (Fairclough and Curtis, 2006). A facsimile of the map is shown in Figure 2 and the Mt Painter enlargement in Figure 3. Using PIRSA’s mineral deposits database (MINDEP) all recorded
occurrences of uranium, either as a primary or secondary component, have been extracted and further subdivided into roll-front, vein, breccia or unconformity style, then displayed on the map with four different symbols. These four map symbols have been internally colour coded according to whether or not uranium is the main recorded mineral or is subsidiary. If uranium was not noted as the main mineral, it has been displayed as a subsidiary mineral regardless of what other minerals occur in the prospect, i.e. for the purposes of this map, its presence LVFRQVLGHUHGVLJQL¿FDQWLQDQ\TXDQWLWLHV Even though 155 uranium occurrences are recorded in MINDEP, many more will undoubtedly be located and added to future versions of the map as PIRSA and company reports are examined in more detail. The database also gives a subjective opinion on the nature of the occurrence, ranging from minor occurrence to a deposit. The latter is a VLJQL¿FDQWDFFXPXODWLRQRIXUDQLXPWHVWHG by a reasonable amount of drilling or other sampling, and may have a historical HVWLPDWHRIWKHTXDQWLW\RIPHWDO+RZHYHU no compliance with Australia’s JORC guidelines is implied. Several instances of JORC compliant estimates are, however, shown. Main factors related to each style of mineralisation have been colour coded on the face of the map, with the same colours used in the legend for clarity. Each occurrence has been numbered from west to east, and summarised descriptions of each occurrence, in part from MINDEP, have been added to the legend. The main (but by no means only) reference for each occurrence has also been added. All legend components have then been colour coded using the same scheme as the key ingredients on the main face of the map, allowing a rapid visual assessment to be made of the location and description of each of the four different styles of uranium mineralisation to be made. For context, a highly generalised geological map forms the background of the map, and an inset showing elevation gives further insight to surface geology and palaeotopography as represented in the modern landscape. Enlargements of Radium Hill and Mt Painter areas are provided. Tenements where companies have indicated that uranium is an exploration target are also displayed up to 1 January 2006. IOCG-related tenements are also shown, but it should be noted that not all IOCG occurrences host anomalous
XUDQLXP:KHUHRWKHUVLJQL¿FDQWNQRZQ occurrences of uranium occur, such as Yarranna, the current tenements are also shown.
Exploration Current or imminent uranium explorers (directly or through joint ventures) in South Australia include: x Uranium Exploration Australia Ltd. 6XFFHVVIXOO\ÀRDWHGRQWKH$XVWUDOLDQ Stock Exchange (ASX) in November 2005. Currently holds IOCG Gawler Craton tenements in the vicinity of Olympic Dam and Prominent Hill. x Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd. Holds uranium Beverley Mine roll-front and surrounding tenements in joint venture with Giralia Resources NL. Also exploring for vein-related targets in the Mt Painter Inlier (Curnamona Province). x Intermet Resources Ltd. Exploring for unconformity related targets below the Corunna Conglomerate, Gawler Craton, in joint venture with Hindmarsh Resources Ltd. The as-yet unlisted company has several IOCG and roll-front style uranium projects in the central Gawler Craton and Eyre Peninsula. x Mega Uranium Ltd. A Canadian uranium explorer which has submitted a takeover bid for Hindmarsh Resources. x Hindmarsh Resources Ltd. Currently the subject of a takeover bid from Mega Uranium, it has numerous Gawler Craton and Curnamona Province tenements targeting IOCG, roll-front and vein-related potential. x Monax Mining Ltd. The company successfully listed on the ASX in September 2005 and has a number of uranium projects on the Gawler Craton, including Punt Hill (IOCG) and Ambrosia (roll-front; located near the Warrior uranium prospect). x Marathon Resources Ltd. The company recently announced a new inferred resource at Mt Gee and has a number of other uranium projects including previous interest in Wild Dog on Fleurieu Peninsula and several Gawler Craton IOCG tenements. x COGEMA (Afmex).$QRI¿FHZDV recently relocated to Adelaide to progress a number of roll-front projects on the Curnamona Province. x Toro Energy Ltd. Successfully listed on the ASX in March 2006, largely on the basis of uranium projects from MESA Journal 41
le f N ea
arr i n na
Level Post Bay
Copley Roxby Downs
33 HORSE WELL
Glendambo Lake Hart
4 YARRANNA 3
Quorn RA N
Rudall 19 DRIVER RIVER
Arno Bay HIG
HW H IG
Ju s B a sie y u
MINERALISATION STYLE Roll front Breccia Vein Unconformity
Pardana Rocky KANGAROO River
Env 3633 Env 2445 Bull 43 Env 3976 Env 3976 Env 3633 Env 3633 Bull 43
S O U T H E R N
O C E A N
Padthaway Lacepede Bay
Uranium related exploration licences and applications
Env 3633 Bull 30 Bull 43 Bull 30 Bull 30 Bull 30 Bull 30
35° Pinnaroo Lameroo
Tandanya Vivonne Hanson Bay
Tailem Bend Moorlands
Murray Bridge Strathalbyn
Normanville 39 WILD DOG B ASecond Valley Yankalilla CK S Rapid Bay Kingscote TAIR Cape Jervis S
Env 3633 Env 3633 Bull 43 Env 3663 Bull 43 Bull 43 Bull 43 Bull 43 Bull 43 Bull 43 Bull 43 www.marathonresources.com.au Bull 43
COMMODITY LEGEND (Major mineral|secondary mineral)
Bull 54 Bulll 54 Env 6562 Env 6562 University of New England, Abs. 34 Env 8482 Env 8886 MR 107 Mineralogical News, 4(1) RB 35/92 RB 38/121 MR 108
GULF ST VINCENT
Sturt Bay Foul Bay
Cambrai Elizabeth Mt Pleasant
Port Vincent Stansbury Point Turton Yorketown
Wedge Island Pondalowie Bay
Overland Corner RENMARK
Bull 54 MR 18
38 DEAD HORSE BAY
Env 3412 RB 90/91 Exp.notes, Whyalla RB 36/117 Env 3338 Exp.notes, Whyalla uraniferous Env 2967
Kingston OM Blanchetown
Tulka Lincoln Cove
Wangary 9 DAVEY 11 FRASERS
Balaklava Port Wakefield
Env 3976 Env 3976 Env 3633 Env 3633 Env 3633 Env 3633 Env 3633 Env 3633
FACTORS RELATED TO ROLL FRONT STYLE
DIGITAL TERRAIN MODEL (DTM)
Stratigraphic classification of Tertiary Palaeochannels
Palaeogene Sequence present
Env 4301 Bull 34 Bull 34 Env 4301 RB 95/13 Env 4301 Dept ME, Mineral Industry Quarterly No16 Env 4301
Both Neogene and Palaeogene Sequence present. Marginal marine sediments of Palaeogene Sequence present
Carpenter Rocks Blackfellows Caves Donovans
Both Neogene and Palaeogene Sequence present Palaeochannel everted by differential erosion: marked by topographical highs (aligned mesas)
FACTORS RELATED TO BRECCIA STYLE Felsic Hiltaba Suite pluton (known)
Felsic Hiltaba Suite pluton (possible)
Ceduna For reference to geological map background, refer to 1 : 7 000 000 summary surface geology of South Australia (Mineral Explorers Guide: PIRSA) Compiled by M. C. Fairclough and S. O. Curtis
P. Heithersay, Ph.D., Executive Director, Minerals and Energy Division of PIRSA.
Mafic Hiltaba Suite ,URQR[LGHFRSSHU²JROGSURYLQFH
ADELAIDE The Honourable Paul Holloway, MLC, Minister for Mineral Resources Development.
Bibliographic Reference: Fairclough, M.C. and Curtis, S.O., (compilers) 2006. Uranium Occurrences South Australia. 1 : 2 000 000 scale. Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA.
-30 Metres (m)
DISCLAIMER GIS data and product accuracy may vary. GIS data and products may be developed from sources of differing accuracy, only at certain scales and times, based on modelling or interpretation, incomplete while being created or revised, etc. Primary Industries and Resources SA reserves the right to correct, update, modify or replace GIS products without notification. Primary Industries and Resources SA cannot assure the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of this information for any particular purpose. Primary Industries and Resources SA shall not be liable for any activity involving this information with respect to lost profits, lost savings or any other consequential damages.
Env 6453 Env 2743 MR 108
RB 46/221 RB 40/134 Bull 30 Bull 30 RB 539
Bull 30 MR 15 SAREIC Conference, 2005 RB 70/11 RB 70/11 AusIMM 1975 RB 70/11
Any person purchasing this map may reproduce it for their own use or that of their staff, but not for any other purpose except with the written permission of the Chief Executive, Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA, GPO Box 1671, Adelaide, South Australia, 5001.
FACTORS RELATED TO UNCONFORMITY STYLE Cariewerloo Basin (Mesoproterozoic)
CROWN COPYRIGHT RESERVED Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA. 2006
Env 3713 MESA 26,35
J. Hallion, Chief Executive, Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA.
FACTORS RELATED TO VEIN STYLE
MR 108 MR 108 AGSO R2000/10
Felsic Hiltaba Suite pluton (inferred)
MR 124 Bull 34 RB 37/89 AusIMM Mon. 14 MR 124 MR 108 Bull 34 Bull 34 MR 108 MR 108 MR 154 Bull 34 RB 49/157 Env 1931
Env 4301 Env 4301
Lake Bonney SE
Penola Ladbroke Grove Millicent
Neogene Sequence present
Bull 43 SAREIC Conference, 2005 Bull 43 RB 40 Bull 54 Bull 43 Env 3536 Bull 34 Bull 34 Env 4301 Env 2847 Bull 43 Env 4301 Env 4301 Bull 34
Env 2370 Env 3510 Proc. AusIMM, 289 Env 6089 Env 6089 Env 6089 Env 4943 Env 3810 Bull 37 MR 103 Bull 37 MR 103 MR 103 MR 101
a olw t Go Ellioarbor rt H Po tor Vic Head tta se Ro
23 COCK HILL 24 BENBUY
ALBERGA RIVER: U mineralisation in Upper Jurassic carbonaceous and pyritic sediments in palaeochannel. Hole 50 intersected ~195ppm U3O8 over 0.76m. WARRIOR: U mineralisation in Eocence carbonaceous and lignitic sediments in palaeochannel. Inferred reserve 4000 tonnes at average grade 0.034% U3O8. YARRANNA 1: Broad area of low grade U mineralisation in palaeochannel sediments associated with redox fronts. Best values recorded over 1m interval were 3550ppm in sand and 1275ppm in clays. YARRANNA 3: Broad area of low grade U mineralisation in palaeo river sediments. YARRANNA 2: Broad area of low grade U mineralisation in palaeo river sediments. YARRANNA 4: Broad area of low grade U mineralisation in palaeo river sediments. EALBARA CHANNEL: Minor roll front U mineralisation detected in drillhole E11 and E27. YANINEE: Broad low grade U anomaly in Tertiary Narlaby Palaeochannel associated with complex series of redox fronts. DAVEY WOLLASTON: Zone of thinly disseminated pitchblende mineralisation concordant to foliation in soda hornblende granitic gneiss. AINSLEE SOUTH: Zone of thinly disseminated pitchblende mineralisation concordant to foliation in hornblende granitic gneiss. FRASERS: Zone of thinly disseminated pitchblende mineralisation concordant to foliation in soda of hornblende granitic gneiss. LOMAX: Disseminated pitchblende in concordant granitic hornblende gneiss ore body. 400 tons ore at 2kg U3O8/ton. GIBSON 3: Zone of thinly disseminated uraninite concordant to foliation in hornblende granitic gneiss. HOSPITAL: Thinly disseminated pitchblende throughout steeply dipping condcordant hornblende granitic gneiss. 5000t of ore at 0±NJ83O8/ton. Unnamed: Minor brannerite confined to hornblende-rich phases in Lincoln Complex hornblende-granitic gneiss concordant to the foliation. Unnamed: Minor brannerite confined to hornblende-rich phases in Lincoln Complex hornblende-granitic gneiss concordant to the foliation. Unnamed: Minor brannerite confined to hornblende-rich phases in Lincoln Complex hornblende-granitic gneiss concordant to the foliation. R1: Rutherfordine mineralisation in Peake Metamorphics near Coppertop Mine. DRIVER RIVER: Anomalous radioactivity (>10 000 cps) at interface of humic mud horizon and haematitic sandstones and clays. &$03221$&XDQGPLQRU8PLQHUDOLVDWLRQRFFXUVDVGLVVHPLQDWLRQVDQGVHJUHJDWLRQVZLWKLQVFKLVWXQLWDGMDFHQWWRSHJPDWLWHFRQtact. POONANA MINE: Minor U associated with Ag mineralisation in Hutchison Group metasediments. EMU PLAIN: Minor U associated with Cu mineralisation in Hutchison Group metasediments. Best assay 4.1lbs U3O8/long ton. COCK HILL: Minor U in Carnotite-bearing Mangalo Schist and Katunga Dolomite of the Hutchison Group metasediments. 742-1 intersected anomalous zone 11-18m which assayed at 110ppm. BENBUY: Weak U anomaly in sheared gneiss and silicified brecciated Katunga Dolomite along NW-trending fault. Unnamed: Minor uraniferous veins in Palaeoproterozoic Moody Suite granitoids. CALCOOKRA: High grade vein-related U associated with shear-related Cu deposit. Sample 615469 from pit workings assayed 2400ppm U. %2$5'69HLQUHODWHG8DVVRFLDWHGZLWKVKHDU±UHODWHG&X ACROPOLIS: Fe-Cu-U-Au mineralisation in magnetite-haematite veins and alteration zones in sericitised felsic Gawler Range Volcanics. Best assay 35ppm U3O8 in drill hole ACD 1(with over 400ppm U3O8 locally). YALPOODNIE: Vein related U associated with shearing. Unnamed: Vein related U associated with shearing. 2/