The opening of one of the world's more intriguing exploration frontiers.
The state declared itself open for uranium mining last month. Lifting a moratorium that's been in place since 1989.
This a major development for the yellowcake industry. The last time uranium miners were allowed to work Queensland, the results were extremely profitable.
That's because the state hosts the eastern extension of the Mount Isa-Cloncurry belt. Recently an area famous for big copper-gold deposits like Ernest Henry.
But also a prime spot for uranium, back in the day when it wasn't outlawed.
That's because of deposits like Mary Kathleen. The "Mary K" ores were some of the richest for uranium outside of Saskatchewan--running 0.1% to 0.15%. And the deposit was sizeable. Producing nearly 20 million pounds U3O8 before shut down in 1982.
The belt here is also notable because of a deposit at its other, northern end. The Nabarlek uranium mine. Which produced U3O8 at a spectacular 2% grade. Nearly 24 million pounds worth. (You can see the cluster of deposits in north-central Australia in the map below--Mary Kathleen at the southeast end in Queensland, and Nabarlek in the northwest in the Northern Territory.)
Here's where the potential in Queensland gets really intriguing. The chance to find a look-alike for one of the world's largest uranium deposits: Olympic Dam.
There are noted similarities between the copper mineralization at Olympic Dam in southern Australia and at Ernest Henry in Queensland. Both are large and rich.
But Olympic Dam has something the Queensland deposits lack: uranium.
However, we know there is uranium in the area in Queensland. At stand-alone deposits like Mary Kathleen and Nabarlek.
There's long been speculation that the right environment may exist in Queensland to mineralize both copper and uranium. It appears the two were deposited by differing geologic events. The trick is to find a place where both happened together--creating a super-charged (and super-profitable) deposit like Olympic Dam.
The lifting of the moratorium here gives explorers the chance to run with this hunt. Let's see what the results are.
Here's to a new beginning to an old story,
By. Dave Forest