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Distribution and Potential of Known Uranium Deposits of Southern Africa


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Author Camisani-Calzolari FAGM, Toens PD, Ainslie LC, Andreoli MAG


The geological and economic aspects of the known deposits of uranium in southern Africa are described. Processes influencing uranium mineralisation in the relevant geological environments are elaborated upon in order to define fundamental characteristics of mineralisation in the sub-continent and identify potential areas for the location of new deposits. Several areas, namely the Damara orogenic belt and its extension in Zambia and Zaire, the Bushveld zone, and the terrains of uranium fertilisation from the mantle have a high probability of hosting uranium deposits which are yet to be discovered. Uranium resources of the southern African region have been estimated and production forecasted to the year 2000. This geographic region contains one quarter of WOCA’s resources in the Reasonably Assured Resources and Estimated Additional Resources – Category I exploitable at less than 130/kg U. On this resource base, it has the potential to maintain its position as the leading exporter of uranium in the world with a production of 13 350 t U308 by the end of the century. Zambia and Zaire are expected to join South Africa and Namibia as uranium producers in the next decade, with their combined share of projected production being in the order of 10%.