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Navoi Kyzylkum - Uchkuduk, Zarafshan, Zarafaband, Nurabad

Uzbekistan

Main commodities: U V
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Sandstone hosted uranium deposits are known and exploited over a northwest-southeast trending 400 x 125 km belt in the central Kyzylkum region of Uzbekistan at the four districts from NW to SE of Uchkuduk (Bukantausky), Zarafshan (Auminza-Beltausky) Zarafaband (West Nuratinsky) and Nurabad (Zirabulak-Ziaetdinsky).

All of these deposits are currently (2006) exploited as in situ leaching operations by the Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Integrated Works. Mining has been continuous from 1961 to the present.

The main producing areas (in 2000) were the Uchkuduk, Kendyktube and Syrgaly deposits in the Uchkuduk district, the Bukinai (Bukinay) and Lyavlyakan deposits in the Zafarabad district and the Sabyrsai (Sabyrsay) and Ketmenchi deposit in the Nurabad district.

This belt of younger uranium mineralisation coincides with and overlies the South Tien Shan gold belt of late Palaeozoic primary gold deposits.

The sandstone hosted oxidation-reduction front uranium deposits are developed within a Mesozoic to Tertiary depression filled by up to 1000 m of Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene clastic sediments. The mineralisation, occurring as pitchblende and sooty pitchblende with minor coffinite, is concentrated in several sandstone and coarse gravel units if both Cretaceous and Tertiary age within this sequence. Associated elements include Se, V, Mo, Rh, Sc and lanthanides.

The average grade worked is from 0.03% to 0.21% U3O8 at depths of from 50 to 600 m below the surface. More than 25 individual deposits have been delineated.

In addition to the sandstone hosted mineralisation, there are five primary deposits hosted by uplifted Proterozoic to Lower Palaeozoic basement adjacent to the younger sedimentary basins. These occur in breccia complexes hosted by metamorphosed and deformed black carbonaceous and siliceous schists containing uranium-vanadium-phosphate bearing ores. Grades range from 0.07 to 0.16% U
3O8, 0.024% Mo, 0.1 to 0.8% V, 68 g/t Y and 0.1 to 0.2 g/t Au. The mineralisation is at depths of from 20 to 450 m below the surface and amenable to open pit mining and heap leach processing.

Total production (IAEA 2001) to the end of 1998 = 107 985 t U
3O8,
Known uranium resources in 2003 (IAEA 2003) at a recoverable cost of <USD130/kg = 194 000 t U
3O8,
    of which 138 500 t were sandstone hosted and 55 500 t were in breccia complexes.

Annual production is of the order of 3000 t of U
3O8.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2006.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.


  References & Additional Information

Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo takes no responsibility what-so-ever for inaccurate or out of date data, information or interpretations.

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