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The Bigrlyi Tabular Sandstone-Hosted Uranium–Vanadium Deposit, Ngalia Basin, Central Australia

CSIRO Mineral Resources, 26 Dick Perry Ave, Kensington, WA 6151, Australia
Energy Metals Ltd., 28 Kings Park Rd, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(10), 896;
Received: 7 September 2020 / Revised: 2 October 2020 / Accepted: 6 October 2020 / Published: 9 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geology of Uranium Deposits)
The Bigrlyi deposit is a tabular, sandstone-hosted, uranium–vanadium deposit of Carboniferous age located in the Ngalia Basin of central Australia. The deposit is similar to the continental, fluvial Saltwash-type of sandstone-hosted U-V deposits which are well known from the Colorado Plateau, USA. Most mineralization at Bigrlyi occurs as thin, multiple-stacked, stratiform lenses at the base of fluvial channels near the contact between a grey sandstone succession and a hematitic, purple–red sandstone succession. A larger halo of lower grade vanadium mineralization extends beyond the main U-V-mineralized zone. The host is an immature, feldspathic sandstone, grading into arkose and lithic-rich variants. Lithic ‘rip-up’ clasts of clay-rich sediments are common in the basal parts of fluvial channels, and are frequently the focus of, and have acted as sites for, U-V mineralization. Coffinite and uraninite are the main uranium minerals, with the former dominant. Vanadium is mainly hosted by Fe-V-bearing clays and chlorite, including roscoelite, grading into vanadian illite, the interlayer mineral corrensite, and altered detrital biotite. The V-Fe–oxyhydroxide minerals montroseite, haggite and doloresite, and altered detrital Fe-Ti oxides, are minor V-hosts. Mineralized zones correlate with enrichments in Se, Li, Ba, Be, Mo, Mg and Fe, and elevated Se/S ratios are characteristic of U-mineralized zones. Petrographic studies show that a heterogeneous mixture of variably mineralized lithic clasts is present; in the same rock, some clasts are Fe-rich and only weakly U-V-mineralized, while other clasts are strongly V- and/or U-mineralized. These observations point to mineralization processes that did not take place in-situ in the host sandstone at the site of deposition as required by conventional groundwater models. Lead isotope results provide evidence of the open-system mobility of radiogenic elements in parts of the deposit. In V-bearing zones, radiogenic Pb contents were found to be unsupported by current U levels, suggesting that over time U has been mobilized from these zones and redistributed, resulting in U-enrichment in other parts of the deposit. Mobility pathways were likely open over time from early in the history of the Bigrlyi deposit. A hybrid mineralization model, involving an interplay between solution-precipitation processes, detrital transport and post-depositional U remobilization, is proposed for Bigrlyi. Ferrous-ion-bearing clay minerals and pyrite are considered to be the most likely primary reductants/adsorbents, while the deposit is lacking carbonaceous matter. View Full-Text
Keywords: uranium–vanadium; tabular sandstone-hosted; Ngalia Basin; Carboniferous uranium–vanadium; tabular sandstone-hosted; Ngalia Basin; Carboniferous
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schmid, S.; Taylor, W.R.; Jordan, D.P. The Bigrlyi Tabular Sandstone-Hosted Uranium–Vanadium Deposit, Ngalia Basin, Central Australia. Minerals 2020, 10, 896.

AMA Style

Schmid S, Taylor WR, Jordan DP. The Bigrlyi Tabular Sandstone-Hosted Uranium–Vanadium Deposit, Ngalia Basin, Central Australia. Minerals. 2020; 10(10):896.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schmid, Susanne, Wayne R. Taylor, and Daniel P. Jordan. 2020. "The Bigrlyi Tabular Sandstone-Hosted Uranium–Vanadium Deposit, Ngalia Basin, Central Australia" Minerals 10, no. 10: 896.

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