Mining & Processing

Uranium Mining and Processing in SA

South Australia is emerging as one of the world's most significant producers of fuel for nuclear electricity plants, operating the world's largest known uranium resource. The three major mines in South Australia, supporting about 6,000 direct and indirect jobs, are the Olympic Dam mine, the Beverley mine, and the Honeymoon mine (which has yet to begin operation). The combined output of the Olympic Dam and Beverley mines results in about $900 million a year in export income.

Click the Uranium mines button to view uranium mines in Australia & the Process cycle button to view an interactive uranium process cycle.


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Olympic Dam
This mine has been operating since 1988 and is Australia's largest underground mine. It is also the world's largest known uranium resource. It uses the world's best technology throughout all phases of mining and processing. There is a case study of the Olympic Dam mine at Envirosmart. The huge orebody contains vast amounts of copper (it is one of the top five copper producers in the world), and also silver and gold. The uranium produced is actually a by-product of the mining of copper. This mine uses the underground method of

This mine, which is situated 500km north of Adelaide, between the northern Flinders Ranges and Lake Frome, began operating in late 2000. It is the second largest uranium deposit in South Australia, and was actually discovered in 1969. Beverley uses the in situ leaching method of mining. Heathgate Resources

Commercial mining has not yet begun at this site, west of Broken Hill, but in situ leaching will also be used here. Uranium was first discovered there in 1972, near what is locally known as the 'honeymoon hut'. Legend has it that a stockman and his bride spent their honeymoon in the old outrider's shack at Kalkaroo Station. Honeymoon will be the fourth operating uranium mine in Australia. UraniumOne.

The royalties from the production of uranium oxide concentrate add up to almost $30 million a year at current rates of production. These funds are available for the South Australian Government to use for schools and hospitals, and for other important community services.

There are three main methods of mining uranium: open cut method, underground and in situ leaching.


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2002 SA Chamber of Mines and Energy.
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