Towards a Model for Albitite-Type Uranium
Received: 22 August 2012 / Revised: 21 December 2012 / Accepted: 4 January 2013 / Published: 17 January 2013
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Albitite-type uranium deposits are widely distributed, usually of low grade (<1% U3O8), but are often large and collectively contain over 1 million tonnes of U3O8. Uranium is hosted in a wide range of metamorphic lithologies,
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Albitite-type uranium deposits are widely distributed, usually of low grade (<1% U3O8), but are often large and collectively contain over 1 million tonnes of U3O8. Uranium is hosted in a wide range of metamorphic lithologies, whose only common characteristic is that they have been extensively mylonitised. Ore minerals are disseminated and rarely in megascopic veins, within and adjacent to albitised mylonites. Grain size is uniformly fine, generally less than 50 microns. Scanning electron microscopy reveals that spatial association between uranium and various Ti-bearing phases is common. Gangue minerals include albite, carbonates (calcite and dolomite), and sodic pyroxene and amphibole. The ore rarely contains economic metals apart from uranium, phosphorous at Itataia being an exception. There is widespread evidence of hydrothermal zirconium mobility and hydrothermal zircon and other Zr phases are frequent and in some cases abundant gangue minerals. Positive correlations are noted between uranium and various high field strength elements. The group remains poorly described and understood, but a link to iron-oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits and/or carbonatite and/or alkaline magmatism is plausible.