Surficial uranium mineral systems in Western Australia: Geologically-permissive tracts and undiscovered endowment

Bijal Chudasama, Oliver P. Kreuzer, Sanchari Thakur, Alok Porwal, Amanda Buckingham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This contribution describes a novel, integrated approach to prospectivity analysis and quantitative resource assessment of surficial uranium deposits in Western Australia that may serve as a universal, best practice template for the estimation and the planning and managing of undiscovered uranium resources elsewhere. The key objectives of and principal steps taken in this study were: (I) development of a process-based, mineral systems-type targeting model for surficial uranium deposits; (2) delineation of areas where the geology is permissive for the existence of surficial uranium deposits (i.e., geologically­permissive tracts) using mineral prospectivity analysis and employing a combination of knowledge-driven fuzzy inference systems (FIS) and data-driven weights-of-evidence and artificial neural networks; and (3) estimation of the number of undiscovered surficial uranium deposits and total amount of undiscovered uranium endowment utilizing regression models of deposit density and endowment density, the USGS three-part assessment and Zipfs Law analysis. The approach described in this contribution is a world first in that it is the first published quantitative mineral resource assessment employing three different methods and building upon the results of a systematic, multi-pronged knowledge- and data-driven prospectivity analyses. The results of these analyses indicate that the study area (the -1,700,000 km2 deserts and xeric shrublands region of Western Australia) contains a total undiscovered endowment (i.e., speculative resources) of >180,000 t U, contained in identified and up to 145 additional, undiscovered deposits. Based on the prospectivity analysis, undiscovered surficial uranium deposits are most likely to be found within geologically-permissive tracts in the remote, commonly sand dune-covered northern and eastern parts of the study area, which to date have recorded little, if any, uranium exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuantitative and Spatial Evaluations of Undiscovered Uranium Resources
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherInternational Atomic Energy Agency
ISBN (Print)978–92–0–109518–3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

PublisherInternational Atomic Energy Agency
ISSN (Print)1011–4289


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