URANIUM IN ARIZONA
OCCURS NATURALLY IN THE NORTHERN AREA OF THE STATE.
Previous exploration on the Arizona Strip in northern Arizona
has resulted in the discovery of eight breccia pipe ore bodies
with production in the 1980's and early 1990's totalling
approximately 19 million pounds of U3O8.
Total amount of mineable uranium discovered to date in breccia
pipes in northern Arizona is estimated to be in the range of 35
Breccia pipes may be present in the area shown in yellow
(Source: Arizona Geological Survey).
Uranium occurrences are known throughout the State in a variety
of different geologic settings (Wenrich and
others, 1989). By far the most uranium production, however, has
been from the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona. Some of the
uranium there is associated with sandstone units. The richest
deposits, the ones that have greatest potential today, occur in
what geologists call "collapse-breccia pipes," or simply breccia
pipes. The high grade of these deposits makes them attractive
exploration targets. These deposits represent the highest grade
deposits identified in the United States.
A typical pipe is about 300 feet in diameter and may extend
downward as many as 3,000 feet (Wenrich and others, 1989).
Although thousands of pipes are at or near the surface, only
about one percent of them contain uranium ore bodies. By 1989,
13 uranium-orebearing breccia pipes had been identified. Wenrich
and others (1989) concluded that at least 40 more pipes have
excellent potential for development as orbodies.
Most of the uranium ore produced from breccia pipes in the
Arizona district was processed at the White Mesa Mill located in
Blanding, Utah. There is currently an estimated resource of 13
million pounds of eU3O8
in several breccia pipes in Northern Arizona awaiting
URANIUM IN COLORADO
URANIUM IN NEBRASKA AND WYOMING
Uranium was first discovered in Wyoming in 1949, but the most
famous discovery occurred in 1953 when Neil McNeice located the
radioactive mineral in the Gas Hills of central Wyoming.
Production during the 1950s centered around the Gas Hills and
the nearby Shirley Basin.
declined in the mid-1960s, but then picked up again in the late
'60s and '70s with the discovery of major uranium deposits in
the Powder River Basin, including: Christensen Ranch, Smith
Ranch, Morton Ranch and Exxon's Highland Mine and the Crow Butte
deposit in Nebraska. Conventional mine production peaked in
1980, and then decreased in the early '80s through the early
'90s when many ISR projects were placed on standby or simply
shut down and restored.
At its zenith,
the Wyoming uranium industry employed 5,300, and total
production peaked at 12 million pounds. Since the first
discovery, Wyoming mines have produced 210 million pounds of U3O8
uranium market is allowing Wyoming and Nebraska operations to
expand production capacity, provide jobs and a safe environment
for future production of a reliable source of domestic energy.
URANIUM IN NEW MEXICO
THE GRANTS URANIUM REGION
Grants Uranium Region has been the most prolific producer of
uranium in the United
States. With production as early as 1948, over 347 million lbs.
U3O8 has been produced from the region, mainly during the years
1953 through 1990.
A review of the EIA records shows that during the past fifty
years in the US, some 949,333 exploration or development holes
have been drilled, spanning over 437 million feet or 82,765
miles within a land position that encompassed some 19 million
acres. Total uranium exploration and development expenditures
that have been documented by EIA since 1966 amount to $6 billion
in Y2000 dollars. Much of this activity was in New Mexico and
resulted in the discovery of uranium deposits in New Mexico’s
San Juan Basin.
The exploration potential in the Grants Uranium Region is vast.
This energy resource will be extremely valuable to the United
States as more and more demands are placed on finite resources
to produce electricity.
URANIUM IN TEXAS
URANIUM OCCURS NATURALLY ALONG THE GULF COAST
There are many shallow uranium deposits along the lower coastal
plain of Texas. These deposits are commonly
TEXAS RESOURCES ARE A VALUABLE ASSET
The Texas Gulf Coast Uranium Region has been one of the most
prolific producers of uranium in the United States. With
production as early as 1961, over 76 million lbs U3O8
has been produced from Texas with an economic value of
$3,000,000,000 at current market prices. This represents the one
of largest concentrations of uranium production in the United
SIGNIFICANT RESOURCES REMAIN
The exploration potential in the Gulf Coast Uranium Region is
vast. This energy resource will be extremely valuable to the
United States as more and more demands are placed on finite
resources to produce electricity.
Uranium recovery operations in Texas declined dramatically
through the 1990’s and was placed on standby in 1999 because of
the depressed uranium market that resulted from the liquidation
of large government (cold war military) stockpiles. Uranium
production is now resuming because inventories have become
depleted and market prices are rising to economic levels that
are reflective of the cost of production.
URANIUM IN UTAH
URANIUM IN SOUTHEASTERN UTAH OCCURS NATURALLY AND HAS BEEN A
SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC DRIVER IN THIS AREA OF THE STATE OVER
The quest for uranium has historical roots in Utah. Initial
Utah uranium mining began in the 1870s and 1880s on a small
scale, with ore shipped to France and Germany in 1884 for use in
the forming of salts and oxides as colorants for ceramics and
dyes, in the manufacture of glass and pottery, and as aids in
photography and steel plating.
The eastern and southeastern regions near the basin margins of
the Green, Grand, and Colorado rivers in Utah contain deposits
of uranium. Other areas where uranium is found are west of the
La Sal Mountains, south of Richardson, at Mill Creek, north of
Moab, at Cold Creek (twenty miles north of Price), and at Temple
By 1906 nearly 200 tons of uranium were mined annually in
Colorado and Utah. World War I
sharpened the demand, as vanadium (found with uranium only in
the Colorado Plateau which straddles the Utah/Colorado border in
southeastern Utah) was used as a steel-hardening agent. Nearly
all the known deposits at that time were located in the Four
Corners Area, and the market demand was high.
Shifting trends affected and altered Utah's uranium industry.
Between 1921 and 1940 the production of uranium in Utah and the
West proved negligible. However, during the Cold War period of
the 1950s and 1960s uranium again reigned as a "wonder metal."
The uranium strikes of the 1950s created another "bonanza"
period in Utah mining. By the mid-1950s, almost six hundred
producers on the Colorado Plateau were shipping uranium ore.
Employment in the industry topped 8,000 workers in the mines and
mills. Another bonanza in penny uranium stock established Salt
Lake City as "The Wall Street of Uranium."
THROUGH CONVENTIONAL UNDERGROUND MINING AND MILLING.
Today, Utah is home to
two of four remaining conventional uranium mills in the United
States: the Ticaboo mill owned by U.S. Energy located near
Bullfrog and the White Mesa mill, owned by International Uranium
(USA) Corporation near Blanding. In Southeast Utah there are a
significant number of past active mines which are considering
restarting operations with the continued uranium price increase.
In addition to the existing infrastructure, a number of
companies are carrying out exploration programs for new