URANIUM DEPOSITS IN AFRICA: GEOLOGY AND EXPLORATION
R.H. WILPOLT, S.D. SIMOV
Division of Nuclear Power and Reactors,
International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna
Africa is not only known for its spectacular diamond, gold, copper, chromium, platinum and phosphorus deposits but also for its uranium deposits. At least two uranium provinces can be distinguished — the southern, with the equatorial sub-province; and the south Saharan province. Uranium deposits are distributed either in cratons or in mobile belts, the first of sandstone and quartz-pebble conglomerate type, while those located in mobile belts are predominantly of vein and similar (disseminated) type. Uranium deposits occur within Precambrian rocks or in younger platform sediments, but close to the exposed Precambrian basement.
The Proterozoic host rocks consist of sediments, metamorphics or granitoids. In contrast to Phanerozoic continental uranium-bearing sediments, those in the Precambrian are in marginal marine facies but they do contain organic material. The geology of Africa is briefly reviewed with the emphasis on those features which might control the distribution of uranium. The evolution of the African Platform is considered as a progressive reduction of its craton area which has been affected by three major Precambrian tectonic events. A short survey on the geology of known uranium deposits is made. However, some deposits and occurrences for which little published material is available are treated in more detail.