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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Woodmansee, Walter C.
Uranium,   pp. 1261-1285 ff. PDF (2.8 MB)


Page 1262

Reserve 273 
Potential 450 
 MINERALS YEARBOOK, 19721262 
a satisfactory rate and that major new investments in exploration and development
would be necessary to supply projected demand. 
 Orders for nuclear powerplants were higher compared with 1971, although
delays continued in licensing and construction. The ABC made plans for expediting
the licensing procedure by enlarging its regulatory staff and streamlining
licensing procedures.2 During 1972, seven nuclear powerplants were licensed
for full-power operation, two for partial power operation, and eight for
construction starts. 
 Nuclear power development plans were prevalent worldwide, particularly (outside
the United States) in Western Europe, Japan, and the U.SS.R. Also, many develop.
ing nations had programs for nuclear power. New uranium mines in Australia,
Niger, and the Territory of South-West Africa were under development to supply
a growing number of international contracts for U3O8. 
 Exploration.—Footage in exploration and development drilling, reported
to the ABC by 84 companies, was at a rate similar to that of 1971. The trend
continued toward deeper exploration drilling. About 32% of this activity
was in areas more than 50 miles from existing production centers. Principal
exploration was in Wyoming (43%), New Mexico (23%), and Texas (22%). Salient
data for 1972 were as follows: 3 
Land held, yearend million'acres - - - 5.6 
Expenditures: 
Land acquisition     million dollars~. 4.7 Drilling (surface): 
Exploration 
Development 
Other 
do 15.4 
do 2.7 
do 9.6 
 Total 32.4 
The industry held 17.7 million acres at 
yearend 1972 (19 million, acres in 1971) 
and planned drilling programs of 18.5 million feet ($35.5 million) in 1973
and 20.3 
million feet ($38.2 million) in 1974. 
Table 2.—Surface drilling for uranium 
 1971 1972 
Type of drilling: 1 
 Exploration million feeL - 11,400 11,815 
 Development do - -  4,052 3,609 
 Total 15,452 15,424 
Number of holes: 
 Exploration 28,416 26,909 
 Development 10,440 9,706 
 Total 38,856 36,615 
Average depth per hole: 
 Exploration feet_ 401 439 
 Development do - 388 371 
1 Does not include claim validation drilling or underground long-hole and
diamond drilling. 
Source: U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. 
Table 3.—Domestic uranium resources 
in 19721 
(Thousand tons U30,) 
 $82 $102 $152 
 337 520 
 700 1,000 
 ' At yearend. 
 2 Cutoff cost; higher cost resource includes that at lower cost. 
Source: U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. 
 Reported significant uranium discoveries during the year included those
of Western Nuclear -Corp. in the Ruby Wells area, McKinley County, N. Mex.,
and Atlas Corp. in the Sage Plains, near Moab, Utah. 
A joint venture involving Ranchers Exploration and Development Corp., Occidental
Minerals Corp., and Frontier Mining Corp. planned a 2-year exploration and
development program in northwest New Mexico. 
 Reserves and Resources.—Domestic uranium reserves at $8 per pound
U5O8 remained unchanged at yearend 1972, additions being approximately equal
to depletion -by production during the year. Reserves at $10 per pound U3O8
increased by 
 2U.5. Atomic Energy Commission. 1972 Annual Report to Congress, Regulatory
Activities. Janu. ary 1973, 54 pp. 
 3U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Grand Junction, Cob. Uranium Exploration
Expenditures in 
1972 and Plans for 1973-74. GJO—l03(73), May 
1973, 8 pp. 


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