--> Abstract: South Texas Mineral Belt--Review, by Kenneth H. Holmes; #90968 (1977).

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Abstract: South Texas Mineral Belt--Review

Kenneth H. Holmes

The South Texas mineral belt is one of the smaller of the United States uranium-resource areas, but has the potential to become much more important. Uranium was discovered in surface exposures of channel sands of Eocene age in 1954 by an airborne-radioactivity survey doing oil exploration, and by surface identification by a hobbyist with a geiger counter. The initial period of exploration lasted only about 1 year when it became evident that only a few near-surface deposits contained commercial ore.

Mining began in 1958 and, by 1961, 100,000 tons (90,000 MT) of ore had been processed in the nearest available mill near Grants, New Mexico. A revival of exploration drilling discovered more ore, and in early 1961 the first mill opened in Karnes County. Later two more mills were added in the district allowing annual production of about 1.5 million lb (0.675 million kg) of U3O8 to be achieved from open-pit mines. Several pilot in-situ leach plants have been operated during the past 4 years and recently plants of commercial size have begun operation.

Exploration in the South Texas mineral belt has expanded steadily during the past 9 years. Activity by numerous competitors stretches more than 300 mi (480 km) from the Mexico border northeastward to near Houston. The ore is contained in a wedge of marginal marine and nonmarine Eocene to Pliocene sediments. Surface and subsurface geologic data provide clues to new prospective areas in the arc of Tertiary sediments which will be explored in the years to come.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90968©1977 AAPG-SEPM Annual Convention and Exhibition, Washington, DC