Frome Embayment Palaeochannel Uranium - Beverley, Four Mile, Honeymoon, Goulds Dam, Warrior

South Australia, SA, Australia

Main commodities: U
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The Beverley, Four Mile, Honeymoon, Gould's Dam and Warrior palaeochannel uranium deposits are hosted by Eocene to Miocene valley fill fluviatile sands and are all located in northern South Australia.   Beverley, Honeymoon and Gould's Dam are within the Frome Embayment over portion of the Palaeo to Mesoproterozoic Curnamona Nucleus, 400 km NNE of Adelaide, while Warrior is over the northern Gawler Craton, 650 km NW of Adelaide.   Other deposits within the Frome Embayment include East Kalkaroo and Billaroo.

Beverley - is located on the northern Frome Plains, 520 km NNE of Adelaide, 20 km ENE of Mt Painter and 35 km NW of Lake Frome. It lies within an inferred NE trending half graben that appears to have influenced Miocene deposition derived from the Palaeo to Mesoproterozoic Mount Painter Complex granitoids and metamorphics (part of the Curnamona Nucleus).
  The mineralisation is hosted in the Beverely Sands which are in the upper portions of the Namba Formation, and comprises uncemented sand, clay and silt. The Beverley Sands are capped by the overlying Beverley Clay, which is in turn overlain by the Willawortina Formation, composed of uncemented inter-laminated clays, sands and gravels and extends from near surface to ~95 m below ground level. Thin surficial beds of younger Quaternary sediments overlie the Willawortina Formation. The Alpha Mudstone, the lower part of the Namba Formation, underlying the Beverley Sands, is a thick, hard and continuous black clay capable of preventing the escape of water downwards. The Beverley Sands, the hosts to uranium mineralisation, are sealed between the two clay units, the Beverley Clay and the Alpha Mudstone. The Eyre Formation, which underlies the Namba Formation and is discontinuous in the region, comprises clayey sands. The Bulldog Shale, which occurs below the Eyre Formation, regionally confines the underlying Cadna-Owie aquifer of the Great Artesian Basin that is found at a depth of generally >330 m below the surface.
  Mineralisation is hosted by unconsolidated sand bodies within the fluviatile clay and silt unit with sandy lenses that constitute the Beverley Sands, within a 400 m wide, north to NE trending, sinuous, shallow palaeodrainage channel close to the contact with the basement Mt Painter Inlier which contains extensive uranium bearing iron oxide rich breccias and replacement bodies.  The deposit extends over approximately 5 km of the palaeochannel and has been divided into the South, Central and North Beverley zones. The South and Central zones are connected by a neck, while a narrow gap of a few hundrred metres separates the North and Central zones. The Central zone is at the confluence of two palaeochannels, while the North and South Zones are on the outer margin of bends in the palaeochannel.
  The Beverley Sand aquifer sequence can be vertically subdivided into four broad units, from the top:  i). Top Silt unit, typically from 90 m to 100 m below surface, comprising fine-grained silts, sandy silts and clays of low permeability;  ii). Upper Sand unit, generally from 100 m to 120 m depth, composed of silty sands of moderate transmissivity (and the main mineralised zone in the Upper Sand), with numerous facies changes occupying the gradation from the Upper Sand into the Top Silt;  iii). Lower Sand unit, from around 120 m to 130 m below the surface, comprising an upper sub-unit of medium to fine grained sands (with some clays) of high transmissivity (representing the main mineralised zone in the Lower Sand), grading into coarser, un-mineralised Basal Sands with higher permeability;  iv). Basal Sand unit, typically at depths of from 130 m to 140 m, comprising 'pods' of medium to fine grained sands of high permeability, but of more limited extent than the Lower Sand unit. This unit disconformably overlies a lower hard grey-black claystone, the Alpha Mudstone.
  The host sand lenses of the Beverley Sands contain 5 to 10 µm coffinite and minor uraninite.   These sands are capped by an upper member of variegated (due to oxidation) blue-grey clay of the Beverley Clay, which is in part sandy and silty.   An oxidation interface associated with the anomalous uranium can be traced over an elongate north to north-east trending zone of some 25x15 km. The ore lenses are restricted to the four sand beds/lenses of the Beverley Sands over a total a thickness of 10 m.
  The resource at Beverley in 1990 (Curtis et al., 1990) was 11 600 tonnes of contained U3O8 at a grade of 0.27% U3O8. According to the Australian Uranium Association, 2008, the three ore zones at Beverley contain at least 21 000 tonnes of U3O8 at grade of 0.18% U3O8, much of which is recoverable by in situ leaching.
  The Four Mile deposit is located 8 km north-west of the main Beverley mine. Mineralisation occurs over an area of 5 sq. km, hosted within the Eocene Eyre Formation sands along the flanks of, and lapping onto, the Mesoproterozoic Mount Painter Complex of the Proterozoic basement rocks in the North Flinders Ranges. Two separate deposits have been defined, Four Mile West and Four Mile East. In late 2007, Four Mile West had an Inferred Resources of 3.9 Mt @ 0.37% U
3O8 for 15 000 tonnes of contained U3O8. The average thickness of the mineralisation within this resource outline is 2.2 m and is hosted by fluviatile sands at 140-170 m depth. The uranium resource is contained within approximately one sq. km with a further 4 sq. km of the high grade deposit remaining to be fully tested (late 2007). The geological settings are different to the main Beverley uranium system that is hosted in Miocene sand channel systems of the Namba Formation, while at Four Mile West mineralisation is within reduced Eocene sands and sandy siltstones of the Eyre Formation.

The Honeymoon in situ leach uranium deposit is located 400 km NE of Adelaide, approximately 75 km NW of Broken Hill, over 150 km SE of Beverley and 30 km NE of exposed Mesoproterozoic basement of the the Olary Ranges.
 It lies below and almost flat featureless plain of low sand dunes separated by shallow drainage depressions. It is one of a series of deposits in the southern part of the Frome Embayment, within the Yarramba Channel that drains the Palaeo to Mesoproterozoic Benagerie Ridge and Willyama Complex which contain the uranium rich Crocker Well and Mundi Mundi granites.   The Yarramba Palaeochannel comprises three subhorizontal permeable sand layers (the upper, middle and basal aquifers). The aquifers are separated by clay layers, with the potential uranium mineralisation occurring in the basal sand unit. The aquifers contain water of distinctly different qualities which indicates that mixing of groundwater between the aquifers does not occur.   The channel was incised into Proterozoic and Cretaceous basement for 155 km and contains around 55 m of poorly consolidated Eocene sediments representing an upward fining sequence of braided stream deposition, culminating in Miocene to Pliocene pyritic clay units.   The more permeable beds have been oxidised to orange and yellow-brown colours, whereas where the permeability is lower sediments remain reduced.
 The source of Honeymoon's uranium is considered to have been derived from both chemical and mechanical weathering of a high-level granite located approximately two kilometres to the south of the deposit.
 Mineralisation in the channel is generally at the interface between the oxidised permeable sands and the reduced clays and silts containing carbonaceous material.   The majority of mineralisation is located near the confluence with a major tributary entering the Yarramba Palaeovalley from the south and is also associated with a topographical high in the channel floor.   The Honeymoon mineralisation is concentrated at the convex edge of a major bend in the palaeochannel and occurs within coarse grained, pyritic basal sand where it pinches out between the overlying reduced clays and the basement of the channel floor.   Mineralisation extends along this pinch-out for around 900 m, is around 450 m wide and averages 4.3 m in thickness at a depth of 110 m.   It occurs as microscopic coffinite in the upper basal sand, closely associated with pyrite and humic matter.
 This physical setting in association with extremely fine grained, acid soluble uranium mineralogy of uraninite, coffinite and uranium phosphates, makes the ore amenability to in situ recovery mining
  The resource delineated in 1990 (Curtis et al., 1990) was 3 400 tonnes of contained U
3O8 at a grade of 0.157% U3O8.   In 2000, the resource was quoted as 6800 t of contained U (IAEG, 2001).   In 2007, the indicated mineral resource at Honeymoon was 1.2 Mt @ 0.24% U3O8 over an average thickness of 1.7 m, containing 2900 t of recoverable U3O8 (Uranium 1, 2008). The Indicated mineral resource estimate according to each sand unit has been calculated from drill intercepts of 0.4 metre minimum thickness and 0.03% U3O8 minimum grade up to 1 metre of internal dilution. An economic grade thickness cut-off of 0.1m% U3O8 has been applied.
  Remaining JORC compliant Measured + Indicated + Inferred Mineral Resources at the Honeymoon Project were 52.4 Mt @ 620 ppm U
3O8 for a total of 32 477 t of recoverable U3O8 (Boss Resources, 25 February 2019 from ASX Announcement, Jan 2020) which includes the main Honeymoon deposit and the nearby Gould's Dam and Jason's deposits in the Billeroo and Yarramba palaeochannels that are 70 and 15 km north and northwest, respectively of the Honeymoon which is also in the latter channel.

Gould's Dam - is located 80 km to the west of Honeymoon and south of Beverley, within the Billeroo palaeochannel which extends north for about 35 km from the Willyama Complex.   The deposit is associated with a redox interface near the confluence with another channel.   It is concealed below 90 m of clay and is around 40 m thick, with a lateral extent of 5 to 8 km.   Mineralisation is restricted to a lower member of predominantly sand with minor silt and locally extensive clay lenses, and occurs as a 40 m wide rollover at the interface between oxidised sand and reduced silts and clays.   This lower unit is overlain by a light to medium grey clay with minor silt and sand, and by an upper member of interfingered silt and sand.   The resource delineated in 1990 (Curtis et al., 1990) was 2 300 tonnes of contained U
3O8 at a grade of 0.148% U3O8. In 1997, PIRSA quoted that the deposit had an identified resources of 6812 t of U3O8 at an average grade of 0.15% U3O8.

Warrior - is within a palaeochannel some 55 km WNW of Tarcoola which has been traced for around 45 km in a southerly direction and is incised into Proterozoic granitoid basement of the Gawler Craton.   The channel sediments comprise around 22 m of immature Tertiary terrigenous sediments, followed by 66 m of Eocene fluviolacustrine carbonaceous clayey and silty mudstones with ribbon sands in the lower third.   These are overlain by 16 m of red-yellow and grey pebbly clays, and 19 m of Quaternary sediments.   Mineralisation occurs at an oxidation interface localised by the current water table at a depth of 30 m, with the strongest ore along the channel margins where the oxidation interface intersects the carbonaceous horizons.   The deposit occurs as seven discrete zones over a 12 km interval of the channel. The resource delineated in 1990 (Curtis et al., 1990) was 4 000 tonnes of contained U
3O8 at a grade of 0.034% U3O8.

For detail consult the reference(s) listed below.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2007.    
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
   Selected References:
Bampton K F, Haines J B and Randell M H,  2001 - Geology of the Honeymoon uranium project: in    AusIMM Proceedings   v306 pp 17-27
Curtis J L, Brunt D A, Binks P J  1990 - Tertiary palaeochannel Uranium deposits of South Australia: in Hughes F E (Ed.), 1990 Geology of the Mineral Deposits of Australia & Papua New Guinea The AusIMM, Melbourne   Mono 14, v2 pp 1631-1636
Haynes R W  1975 - Beverley sedimentary uranium orebody, Frome Embayment, South Australia: in Knight C L, (Ed.), 1975 Economic Geology of Australia & Papua New Guinea The AusIMM, Melbourne   Mono 5 pp 808-813
Reif T,  2000 - Honeymoon uranium project update: in    Mesa Journal   v19 pp 4-7
Wulser P-A, Brugger J, Foden J and Pfeifer H-R,  2011 - The Sandstone-Hosted Beverley Uranium Deposit, Lake Frome Basin, South Australia: Mineralogy, Geochemistry, and a Time-Constrained Model for Its Genesis : in    Econ. Geol.   v.106 pp. 835-867

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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