Earth Sciences Report 2007-10

Earth Sciences Report 2007-10

ESR 2007-10

Sandstone-Hosted Uranium Potential of Southern Alberta Preliminary Assessment

Author(s) Matveeva, T.M. Anderson, S.D.A. Date 2007-11-01

After a 20-year hiatus, southern Alberta has again become an exploration ground for uranium. Sandstone-hosted uranium, the past and present exploration model, is a type of deposit that hosts 30 per cent of world uranium reserves (International Atomic Energy Agency, 2003). Possible locations of sandstone-hosted uranium deposits are being explored on all continents. The geological setting of southern Alberta has much in common with world-class sandstone-hosted uranium producers Wyoming and Colorado, where uranium deposits are hosted in Jurassic, Cretaceous and Eocene sandstone units. Deposits are formed through the process of uranium leaching from felsic volcanics and/or granites, then being transported in oxidizing groundwaters through confined aquifers, and, finally, being deposited along regional redox fronts. Location of individual ore bodies is controlled by the presence of a reducing agent within the productive package. Deposits are low-grade (0.05�0.4% U3O8) and small in size (often up to 50 000 t U3O8) (Dahlkamp, 1991) but economically attractive because they occur in clusters and can be mined using the low-impact, economical In Situ Leach (ISL) method.

Matveeva, T.M. and Anderson, S.D.A. (2007): Sandstone-hosted uranium potential of southern Alberta - preliminary assessment; Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, EUB/AGS Earth Sciences Report 2007-10, 98 p.