The Different Types of Uranium Deposits in the Earth
The radioactive element Uranium has had some uses in our world today. Although some uranium is used for nuclear weapons, it is also used to power countries. Nuclear power plants that utilize uranium as a fuel can generate energy that can be distributed and used throughout the country. In order to acquire uranium, it must first be harvested through uranium mining. The uranium that is acquired through uranium mining isn’t yet usable as it comes in the form of uranium ore which is a mixture of other minerals. This uranium ore must first be processed in order to extract the uranium from the other minerals.
In order for uranium ore to be mined, a uranium deposit must first be identified as it is there that the ore can be found and uranium can be extracted. There are certain countries that have more uranium deposits than others especially in countries like Canada, Kazakhstan, and Australia which are the top three producers of uranium. In fact, the combined amount of uranium these countries have produced account for seventy percent of the total amount of uranium mind around the world globally.
Today, there are already many different kinds of uranium deposits that have been found and mined for their uranium. These uranium deposits are found around the world and they are studied and classified by the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA for short. They have classified uranium deposits into fifteen categories depending on their setting geologically as well as the rock in which the uranium was found in. Today, we are going to look into the three main types of uranium deposits.
1.) Sedimentary rock uranium deposits – An example of a sedimentary rock that contains uranium deposits that require uranium mining to harvest is the sandstones that are primarily found in Canada and in the west of the US. This probably explains why Canada has become a leading producer of uranium. Other examples of sedimentary rock uranium deposits are the Precambrian unconformities which are also found in Canada, phosphate minerals, calcrete minerals, as well as Precambrian quartz-pebble conglomerate.
2.) Hydrothermal and igneous uranium deposits – Uranium ores that are found in veins are classified as hydrothermal uranium deposits. Uranium deposits that are found in igneous rock on the other hand, include minerals like nepheline syenite which can be found in Greenland. This type of uranium deposit can also be found in Namibia and in the US in Alaska and Washington which come in the form of disseminated deposits. In these deposits there are also pegmatites that contain uranium.
3.) Breccia uranium deposits – This type of uranium deposit can be located in the rocks that been undergone breakage as a result of the fracturing of the tectonic plates or even just the rock weathering away. This type of uranium deposit can be found mostly in countries like Australia, India, and the US. In fact, the Olympic Dam mine is a Breccia uranium deposit and is also the largest deposit of uranium in the entire world and is also the place where the Olympic dam center is located a company that also does uranium mining.