Uranium pit

Uranium

The Northern Territory has a long history of uranium mining and has some of Australia’s most significant and highest grade uranium deposits.
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Total production
144,174 tonnes uranium oxide
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2018/19 production
2,094 tonnes uranium oxide
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Remaining JORC resources
>200,000 tonnes uranium oxide
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Value of production in 2018/19
$211 million
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Production ranking in Australia
2nd

It currently contains around 30% of Australia’s low-cost uranium resources. Uranium mining in the Northern Territory (NT) commenced in 1953 in the Rum Jungle and South Alligator fields, and a second phase of mining in the Alligator Rivers uranium field near Jabiru commenced in 1980 and is ongoing.

View the uranium factsheet ;PDF (1.3 MB)

Mines

For more information go to Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.

Ranger is a large unconformity-style uranium deposit hosted in the lower Cahill Formation in the Pine Creek Orogen. Mining commenced in 1980, with total production since that time of 126,000 tonne U3O8 from the Ranger 1 and Ranger 3 open pits. Open cut mining ceased at Ranger in 2012, with all production now from stockpiles, as the operation heads towards closure in 2021 and rehabilitation by 2026.

At the end of 2018, Ore Reserves at Ranger (entirely within stockpiles from Ranger 3 pit) were 4.9 Mt at 0.076% U3O8 for 3,735 tonne U3O8, and Mineral Resources (in stockpiles and in the undeveloped Ranger 3 Deeps deposit) are 46.74 Mt at 0.12% U3O8 for 54,701 t U3O8.

Projects

Most uranium production in the NT has been from the Alligator Rivers Uranium Field, an unconformity-related uranium field in which deposits locally contain more than 100,000 tonne contained U3O8, with grades generally in the range 0.2-2% U3O8. These deposits, which include Ranger, Jabiluka, Koongarra and Nabarlek, are typically hosted within the Palaeoproterozoic basement of the Cahill Formation (Pine Creek Orogen), close to the unconformity with the basal MacArthur Basin.

Current exploration is focussed in western Arnhem Land, where a maiden resource was announced at the Angularli deposit in 2018. Elsewhere in the Pine Creek Orogen, smaller but locally high-grade vein-style and other basement-hosted uranium deposits occur in the South Alligator, Rum Jungle and Hayes Creek uranium fields.

Advanced projects

Under feasibility

JORC resources

Exploration

Other explorers in the Alligator Rivers field include DevEx Resources Ltd and Rio Tinto Exploration.

Sandstone-type deposits occur in Palaeozoic sediments in the Ngalia and Amadeus basins in central Australia. The largest of these deposits are the Angela deposit in the Amadeus Basin and the Bigrlyi deposit in the Ngalia Basin. Cenozoic palaeochannel-hosted uranium has also been identified in the Ngalia Basin area, and has the potential to become an important exploration target in Central Australia.

Advanced projects

Under feasibility

JORC resources

Exploration

Other uranium explorers in Central Australia include Eclipse Metals Ltd.

There are also significant uranium occurrences in the basal southern McArthur Basin and underlying basement of the Murphy Province, close to the Westmoreland uranium deposit which occurs in adjacent regions of Queensland.

JORC resources

Exploration

The Aileron Province, Warramunga Province and Tanami Region contain known uranium prospects and locally uranium-enriched granites. These provinces and overlying basins and palaeochannels represent greenfields uranium exploration targets.

These provinces and overlying basins and palaeochannels represent greenfields uranium exploration targets.

More information

  • Lally and Bajwah 2006. Uranium deposits of the Northern Territory. NTGS Report 20.
  • Sinclair P 2019. Refreshing the Alligator River Uranium Field exploration toolkit - Angularli and Such Wow, AGES 2019 Proceedings Volume.
  • Smith BP 2018. Mineralogy variations in the Mamadawerre Sandstone, Kombolgie Subgroup at Angularli Uranium Prospect: Applications to exploration in other areas, AGES 2018 Proceedings Volume.
  • Schmid et al 2012. JSU Ngalia Basin Uranium Mineral System Project, NTGS Record 2012-003.
  • Potma et al 2012. JSU-ERA Ranger Mineral System Project, NTGS Record 2012-004.
  • Search for further NTGS publications on uranium
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Operating mine

Care and maintenance

Prospect

JORC resource

Under feasibility

In approvals process

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Uranium

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