The Discovery and Development of Uranium in Australia
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1988
There are a number of factors affecting the discovery and develop- ment of uranium in Australia which makes this mineral almost unique and quite different from other minerals. I. The role of the Australian Government, which initially encouraged the discovery by offering rewards to prospectors who discovered deposits that could become economic. 2. At a later stage, the Commonwealth and South Australian Govern- ments prevented the development and production of "new mines" by refusing to grant mining title and refusing to allow sales of uranium by not issuing export permits. 3. The unique property that uranium and its daughter products possessed, i.e. radioactivity, meant that any person who purchased a geiger coun- ter could go prospecting, even though they had no previous experience in prospecting and they had an equal opportunity of discovering a new deposit as a company or independent geologist. 4. Because the exploration/demand for uranium didn't occur until the 1940s very little background geological information or models were available and so the early discoveries tended to become the locus for exploration rather than moving into areas which might on geological concepts lead to exploration programmes based on geological models. Because of the lack of knowledge there was the exchange of geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the South Australia Geologist Survey.