Geology and Mineralization of the Recently Discovered Rössing South Uranium Deposit, Namibia
M. Spivey, A. Penkethman, N. Culpan, 2010. "Geology and Mineralization of the Recently Discovered Rössing South Uranium Deposit, Namibia", The Challenge of Finding New Mineral Resources: Global Metallogeny, Innovative Exploration, and New Discoveries, Richard J. Goldfarb, Erin E. Marsh, Thomas Monecke
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The Rössing South uranium deposit in Namibia is one of the largest undeveloped uranium deposits in the world and is viewed by many industry participants as the most significant global uranium discovery in the present cycle. Current resources total 121,000 metric tons (t) of uranium oxide, and further exploration is likely to substantially increase the resource inventory. Since its discovery in early 2008, approximately 200,000 m of resource drilling has been completed through January 2010, principally on the Rössing South zones 1 and 2. Further zones of uranium mineralization have been intersected, and these await sufficient drilling to warrant resource estimation. The Rössing South deposit is located approximately 7 km directly south of the Rössing uranium deposit and is separated from it by the Khan River Canyon. The Rössing deposit is the only mining operation currently exploiting the uranium-bearing leucogranites of the Namibian Erongo region uranium province and has been in continuous production since 1976. It produces approximately 7 percent of the annual global supply of uranium oxide. Rössing South shares many geologic characteristics with the Rössing deposit, although it is located on the opposite limb of the regional Kuiseb syncline. The overall in situ grade of the Rössing South uranium mineralization, as it is currently defined, is approximately 480 ppm U3O8, which is about 25 percent higher than historically mined grades at the Rössing deposit (i.e., ~350-400 ppm U3O8) The Rössing South discovery is currently the subject of a feasibility study that has the objective of establishing the viability of a potential globally significant mining operation based on the known uranium resources of zones 1 and 2.
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The Challenge of Finding New Mineral Resources: Global Metallogeny, Innovative Exploration, and New Discoveries
VOLCANIC-ASSOCIATED and sedimentary-exhalative massive sulfide deposits on land account for more than one-half of the world's total past production and current reserves of zinc and lead, 7 percent of the copper, 18 percent of the silver, and a significant amount of gold and other by-product metals (Singer, 1995). A new source of these metals is now being considered for exploitation from deep-sea massive sulfide deposits. Because the oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface, many expect the ocean floor to host a proportionately large number of these deposits. However, there have been few attempts to estimate the global mineral potential. Significant accumulations of metals from hydrothermal vents have been documented at some locations (e.g., 91.7 Mt of 2.06% Zn, 0.46% Cu, 58.5 g/t Co, 40.95 g/t Ag, and 0.51 g/t Au in the Atlantis II Deep of the Red Sea: Mustafa et al., 1984; Nawab, 1984; Guney et al., 1988). Even more metal is contained in deep-sea manganese nodules. Current estimates in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mineral commodities summaries indicate a global resource of copper in deep-sea nodules of about 700 Mt. In the Pacific "high-grade" area, an estimated 34,000 Mt of nodules contain 7,500 Mt of Mn, 340 Mt of Ni, 265 Mt of Cu, and 78 Mt of Co (Morgan, 2000; Rona, 2003). A number of countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Russia, France, and Germany, are actively exploring this area.