New vectoring tools for regional uranium exploration based on geochemical and structural modeling of Zones 3 and 4 of the McArthur River uranium deposit , Athabasca Basin , Saskatchewan ( Canada ) Geological setting

Nicolas Goffaux and Irvine R Annesley and Gautier Laurent and Zoltan Hajnal. ( 2017 )
in: 2017 Ring Meeting, ASGA

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to compile aeromagnetic, gravity, seismic, drill hole and geochemical data from the McArthur River deposit and around into a single project. Considering the significant amount of data available, it is now possible to establish new geochemical vectoring tools for uranium exploration by documenting the mobility of elements. In a first stage, aeromagnetic, gravity and seismic data are used to build a comprehensive model of the McArthur River deposit. This is carried out using SKUA-GOCAD and RING research plugins (FaultMod2, GeolToolbox and ACP). In a second stage, the mine is modeled using borehole, seismic and geochemical data, which are imported into SKUA-GOCAD. The study shows the deposit architecture requires the understanding of the deep geology in order to model fluid flows. Indeed, the large-scale fault zones affecting the unconformity are reactivated from the underlying basement although some are post-dating the basin deposition. Since such fault zones are proposed to be the main corridors for mineralizing fluids, the built model could serve as a basis for the further understanding of the origin of the uranium-bearing fluids. At the mine scale, in the mineralized zones, element mobility is documented together with mass-balance gains and losses. This allows the establishment of vectoring tools for regional to district scale uranium exploration. The study shows that the basement and the basin cannot be analyzed and interpreted together due to their geochemical differences. The basement geochemistry shows that mostly B, Li and Mg are the main factors constraining the localization of a deposit. In the basin, alteration haloes of K and Nb are characteristic in the b and c members of the Manitou Falls (MF) formation. Finally, as a tool for fast, cheap and more reliable exploration, the B anomaly in the MFd member is the first factor to consider in any exploration program.

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BibTeX Reference

@INPROCEEDINGS{Goffaux2017,
    author = { Goffaux, Nicolas and Annesley, Irvine R and Laurent, Gautier and Hajnal, Zoltan },
     title = { New vectoring tools for regional uranium exploration based on geochemical and structural modeling of Zones 3 and 4 of the McArthur River uranium deposit , Athabasca Basin , Saskatchewan ( Canada ) Geological setting },
 booktitle = { 2017 Ring Meeting },
      year = { 2017 },
 publisher = { ASGA },
  abstract = { The aim of this paper is to compile aeromagnetic, gravity, seismic, drill hole and geochemical data from the McArthur River deposit and around into a single project. Considering the significant amount of data available, it is now possible to establish new geochemical vectoring tools for uranium exploration by documenting the mobility of elements. In a first stage, aeromagnetic, gravity and seismic data are used to build a comprehensive model of the McArthur River deposit. This is carried out using SKUA-GOCAD and RING research plugins (FaultMod2, GeolToolbox and ACP). In a second stage, the mine is modeled using borehole, seismic and geochemical data, which are imported into SKUA-GOCAD. The study shows the deposit architecture requires the understanding of the deep geology in order to model fluid flows. Indeed, the large-scale fault zones affecting the unconformity are reactivated from the underlying basement although some are post-dating the basin deposition. Since such fault zones are proposed to be the main corridors for mineralizing fluids, the built model could serve as a basis for the further understanding of the origin of the uranium-bearing fluids. At the mine scale, in the mineralized zones, element mobility is documented together with mass-balance gains and losses. This allows the establishment of vectoring tools for regional to district scale uranium exploration. The study shows that the basement and the basin cannot be analyzed and interpreted together due to their geochemical differences. The basement geochemistry shows that mostly B, Li and Mg are the main factors constraining the localization of a deposit. In the basin, alteration haloes of K and Nb are characteristic in the b and c members of the Manitou Falls (MF) formation. Finally, as a tool for fast, cheap and more reliable exploration, the B anomaly in the MFd member is the first factor to consider in any exploration program. }
}