Uranium in the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative study area, southwestern Wyoming

Publication Information

Author(s):
Anna B. Wilson
Publication Date: 2015
Tags: Open-File Report

Wyoming has led the nation as the producer of uranium ore since 1995 and contains the largest reserves of any state. Approximately one third of Wyoming’s total production came from deposits in, or immediately adjacent to, the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) study area in the southwestern corner of the state including all of Carbon, Lincoln, Sublette, Sweetwater, Uinta, and parts of southern Fremont Counties. Conventional open-pit and underground mining methods were employed in the study area until the early 1990s. Since the early 1990s, all uranium mining has been by in-situ recovery (also called in-situ leach). It is estimated that statewide remaining resources of 141,000 tonnes of uranium are about twice the 84,000 tonnes of uranium that the state has already produced.

An evaluation of the mineral commodities present in the WLCI study area that may have a role in the development of southwest Wyoming includes uranium. The WLCI study area contains five uranium mineralized areas: Ketchum Buttes, Poison Basin, Shirley Basin, the southern part of Crooks Gap"Green Mountain, and most of Great Divide Basin. Mineralized areas described in the report and outlined on an accompanying map are based on the presence of either contiguous claim blocks, continuous mineralization adjacent to prospective uranium properties, suggestions of mineralization based on site entries in the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS), or extension of geologic host units or structures. Mineralized areas are not the same as mining districts: the latter have defined administrative boundaries.

In the WLCI study area, all uranium areas except Poison Basin and Ketchum Buttes contain roll-front deposits in Eocene (56"34 Ma) sedimentary rocks. Tabular sandstone-hosted uranium deposits are also recognized within the study area.

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