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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Uranium Mines

Since 1988, Iran reportedly opened as many as 10 uranium mines, including the Saghand uranium mine in Yazd province, as well otherwise unspecified locations in Khorassan, Sistan va Baluchestan, and Hormozgan Provinces, and in Bandar-e-Abbas and Badar-e-Lengeh Provinces along the Gulf. The Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Reza Amrollahi, announced in 1989 that the expected reserves of these deposts was in excess of 5,000 tons.

Uranium resources of Iran were not considered rich. The results of the AEOI exploration activities had shown proven reserves of about 3,000 tons of Uranium so far. According to the discovered indices (more than 350 anomalies) and the results of the field discoveries, the expected resources of Iran could be at the range of 20,000-30,000 tons of U3O8, throughout the country. Therefore Iran's domestic reserves might be sufficient enough to supply the raw material for needed nuclear power plants in future.

A few groups had attempted to evaluate the potential of uranium resources in different geological environment by general reconnaissance in Iran before formal establishment of the Uranium Exploration and Mining Affairs element by the AEOI in 1974. In 1935 Dr. Mohammad Monnajemi, was the first one who tried to define radiation and uranium on different ore samples of Anarak ore district. He reported that some ore samples of Kali-Kafi were radioactive. During 1959-1960 the Sarcia Mission from CEA, France and the Geological survey of Iran (GSI) did preliminary investigation for uranium resources in Anarak, Khorasan, Central Iran and Azarbaijan. During 1969-1971 CEA and GSI did reconnaissance for different parts of country by using of scintilometer, helicopter, and car for field surveying. The survey was not directly oriented to study the relationship between crystalline rock units (as original uranium source, rock and associated sedimentary formations, or host rocks). Besides a general reconnaissance by helicopter, open profiles (2.5-8 km) for sedimentary and 1 km for granitic massifs were also carried out. The final recommendation of CEA mission was emphasized on sedimentary and crystalline rock areas. UNDP advisor Dr. France R. Joubin in 1974 summarized world wide deposits and with respect to some of them he concluded that: 1) PE conglomeratic-type did not have much possibilities to be formed, 2) Sandstone-type were also not very probable to be found in Iran, and 3) vein-type deposits and possible pegmatitic-type seemed most promising.

AEOI had authorized systematic exploration for uranium using high technique methods for uranium prospecting in the whole country since 1974. The basic philosophy in this approach was to locate radioactive anomalies, and mineralization for finding economic ore bodies, and the efficient use of new geosciences and technologies for reducing low potential areas, and specify areas of interest.

The first stage of airborne surveying was performed by Uriran and with it's contractors (Prakla Seismoss, Austirex, and CGG) covering about 600,000 km2 by using of airplane and helicopter during 1976-1978.

Parallel with airborne surveying prospecting groups had done ground surveying, using radiometry, geology and geochemistry and drilling methods to define prospective locations. This stage of prospecting was ended collecting airborne radiometry, K, U, Th - spectrometry, magnetic data on the forms of digital and analogue formats, as well as discovering of uranium and thorium prospects on different geological environments.

Since 1979, Exploration and Mining Affairs had followed exploration program to evaluate uranium resources of the country by processing of airborne data and producing hardcopies and geophysical maps in 1:50000, and 1:250000 scales and the interpretation and ground controlling of recommended areas. Prospecting and detailed exploration in radioactive anomalous fields had applied different methods of ground exploration. Based on the results of exploration and research projects it was concluded that the most promising geological environments hosting uranium resources were: Pan-African tectono-Magmatic activated zones in central Iran for metasomatic-hydrothermal types deposits; Alpine reactivated terrance for magmatic-hydrothermal types of uranium associated with base-metals; and Intermountain basins of Alpine-Himalayan folded belt for sedimentary hosting resources. By the 1990s exploration of uranium was in progress using new technologies and multi-sourced data.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:42:00 ZULU