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Abstract

A newly developed data-directed numerical method is used to estimate the undiscovered uranium endowment of the Westwater Canyon Member of the Morrison Formation in the San Juan basin, New Mexico. Data from 1,800 geophysical logs, chip samples from 40 test wells, and 40 measured surface sections provided the basic geologic information. Using these data, we evaluated the favorability of uranium concentration in each of 2,068 cells defined within the basin. Favorability was based on the correlated similarity of the geologic characteristics of each cell to the geologic characteristics of five deposit models. Estimates of the undiscovered endowment for each cell were categorized according to deposit type, depth, cutoff grade, and resource area. The undiscovered uranium endowment of the Westwater Canyon Member is estimated at 2.6 x 106 tonnes U3O8 with an estimated error equal to 0.25 x 106 tonnes of U3O8. This estimate is roughly twice that obtained by the U.S. Department of Energy in the NURE program. The total uranium endowment, which is the sum of the discovered and undiscovered endowments, is estimated to be 3.5 x 106 tonnes of U3O8.

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