Uranium deposits South Limb of the Quirke syncline Elliot Lake, Ontario

Barnes, F.Q.
Organization: Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
"Uranium, thorium and yttrium have been recovered, since the 1950s, from pyritic quartz-pebble conglomerates occurring in the basal sediments of the Quirke syncline at Elliot Lake. Gold, an element of interest in similar type deposits occurring worldwide, is a very minor constituent of the Elliot Lake conglomerates because the provenance area of the sediments had few gold-bearing rocks.Uranium, thorium and rare elements are found in resistate and diagenetic minerals occurring in the matrix of the conglomerates. The valuable elements are recovered from the acid soluble minerals during the milling process.Large uranium reserves occur in mines found on both limbs of the Quirke syncline. Major reserves are being developed on the South Limb of the syncline, where the Stanleigh Mine, among four past-producers, has been reactivated.IntroductionUranium and thorium commonly occur in anomalous amounts in coarse basal sediments. Radioactivity in basal conglomeratic sediments is generally attributable to resistate minerals, that rarely occur in concentrations high enough to be of economic significance. One type of basal conglomerate found worldwide, in Precambrian cratonic basins, has uranium or uranium and gold concentrations large enough to be of economic interest. Principal among the occurrences are the pyritic quartz-pebble conglomerates of the Huronian in Canada, of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and at Jacobina in Brazil.The uranium and gold mineralization of these conglomerates was derived from provenance areas where both elements occurred and were later concentrated through source degradation and deposition in placers in a reducing environment. Only the Huronian conglomerates, generally much richer in uranium but with negligible gold, have been exploited solely for their uranium content.The uraniferous conglomerates of the Huronian at Elliot Lake, 500 km north of Toronto, continue to represent a major world source and supply of uranium concentrate."
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