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Uranium Distributions in the Earths Crust

The following table is from Deffeyes & MacGregor, "World Uranium resources" Scientific American, Vol 242, No 1, January 1980, pp. 66-76.

type of deposit down estimated tonnes estimated ppm
average crust 3 x 1013 1-3
black shales 2 x 1010 20-100
evaporites, siliceous ooze, chert 6 x 1012 .2-1
fossil placers, sand stones 8 x 107 1,000-2,000
fresh water 2 x 106 .0001-.001
granites 2 x 1012 3-10
lower grade fossil placers,sandstones 1 x 108 200-1,000
ocean water 2 x 1010 .0002-.001
oceanic igneous crust 8 x 1011 .1-.2
Pegmatites, unconformity deposits 2 x 106 2,000-10,000
shales, phosphates 8 x 1011 10-20
Vein deposits 2 x 105 10,000+
volcanic deposits 2 x 109 100-200

The total abundance of Uranium in the Earth's crust is estimated to be approximately 40 trillian tonnes. The Rossing mine in Nambia mines Uranium at an Ore concentration of 300 ppm at an energy cost 500 times less than the energy it delivers with current thermal-spectrum reactors. If the energy cost increases in inverse proportion to the Ore concentration, shales and phosphates, with a Uranium abundance of 10 - 20 ppm, could be mined with an energy gain of 16 - 32. The total amount of Uranium in these rocks is estimated to be 8000 times greater than the deposits currently being exploited.


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