Chemical and micro-structural characterisation studies on natural uraninite and associated gangue minerals

Ram, R, Charalambous, F, McMaster, S, Pownceby, M, Tardio, J and Bhargava, S 2013, 'Chemical and micro-structural characterisation studies on natural uraninite and associated gangue minerals', Minerals Engineering, vol. 45, pp. 159-169.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Chemical and micro-structural characterisation studies on natural uraninite and associated gangue minerals
Author(s) Ram, R
Charalambous, F
McMaster, S
Pownceby, M
Tardio, J
Bhargava, S
Year 2013
Journal name Minerals Engineering
Volume number 45
Start page 159
End page 169
Total pages 11
Publisher Elsevier
Abstract Composition, structure, texture and gangue minerals associated with three naturally occurring uraninite samples (USG - Saxony, Germany; UPA - Palette mine, Australia and; UEA - El Sharana mine Australia) were investigated. The UEA sample contained uraninite associated with uranyl oxide species, Pb-rich uranylphosphate and Pb/Al phosphate phase with trace levels of galena and sulphides. The UPA sample contained uraninite associated with meta-autunite, Pb/Al phosphate phase and other minor phases including carbonates, quartz, fluorapatite, gold and various Zn/Fe/Cu sulphides. The USG mineralogy was dominated by the sulphides sphalerite and galena with uraninite only a minor component along with unidentified Fe/Mg-rich aluminosilicate, muscovite, coffinite and other sulphides. All samples exhibited complex textural and chemical modifications compared to stoichiometric UO2. The uraninites were substituted mainly by Ca and radiogenic Pb and were highly altered. Alteration was associated with significant variations in chemistry with unaltered uraninite in samples UPA and UEA typically being richer in U, Ca and Pb compared to altered regions. The altered uraninite also was more hydrated. Altered uraninite in sample USG had higher Fe, Pb, S and As compared to less altered uraninite and was significantly depleted in U and Ca. The high Pb in the uraninite was opposite to that observed in the UEA and UPA samples but may be related to the high abundance of galena in the sample. The compositional, textural and microstructural aspects of uraninite are likely to play an important role in any process to extract uranium from uraninite-containing ores.
Subject Physical Chemistry not elsewhere classified
Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Uraninite
Uraninite El Sharana mine
Uraninite Palette mine
Uraninite Saxony Germany
Uranium ore gangue minerals
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.mineng.2013.02.004
Copyright notice © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN 0892-6875
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