Abstract

Australia's thorium resources currently amount to 452,000tonnes Th of which 364,000tonnes (80.5%) occur in heavy mineral sand deposits, 53,300tonnes (11.7%) in a vein type deposit at Nolans Bore in the Northern Territory and another 35,000tonnes (7.7%) are in an alkaline trachyte plug at Toongi in New South Wales. This distribution of thorium resources differs from the world wide distribution where 31.3% of the resources occur in carbonatites, 24.6% are in placers, 21.4% in vein type deposits and 18.4% in alkaline rocks. This variance is at least partly due to relatively more, although still inadequate, data on thorium resources being generated by the very active heavy mineral sand operations around Australia. Even where thorium analyses have been carried out for other types of deposits that host thorium, such results are not published since thorium is not considered to be economically important. All of Australia's thorium resources occur in multi-commodity deposits, dominantly the heavy mineral sands and in rare earth deposits where the extraction cost would be shared with if not totally supported by the other commodities in the deposit. Because there has been no large-scale demand for thorium, there has been little incentive for companies to assess the cost for the extraction of thorium resources. Hence there is insufficient information to determine how much of Australia's thorium resources are economic for purposes of electricity power generation in thorium nuclear reactors. Geoscience Australia is currently engaged in upgrading its database on thorium resources as part of the five-year Onshore Energy Security Program and Australia's figures on its thorium resources will be refined as a result of this work. Because of limited demand, there has been very little exploration for thorium in Australia. As part of its five year Onshore Energy Security Program, Geoscience Australia is in process of upgrading its continent wide airborne radiometric coverage and is conducting a low density geochemical sampling program across the continent. These programs will help to develop a better understanding of the geological and geochemical environment of thorium in Australia and provide basic pre-competitive data to reduce risk the level of risk for the mineral exploration industry. Assessment of thorium resources by the minerals industry in the future will depend upon the development of commercial-scale thorium nuclear reactors and the resulting demand for thorium resources.
Google map showing geographic bounding box with values North bound -9.0 East bound 156.0 West bound 110.0 South bound -44.0
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Product Type/Sub Type

dataset - PowerPoint

Constraints

license
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence

IP Owner

Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia)

Author(s)

Date (publication)

2008

Product Type

dataset

Topic Category

geoscientificInformation

Keywords

PowerPoint
mineral deposits
Earth Sciences

Resource Language

English

Resource Character Set

utf8

Resource Security Classification

unclassified

Geographic Extent

North bound
-9.0
East bound
156.0
West bound
110.0
South bound
-44.0

Lineage

Unknown

Digital Transfer Options

onLine

DISTRIBUTION Format

pdf
ppt

Distributor

Role
distributor
Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
City
Canberra
Administrative Area
ACT
Postal Code
2601
Country
Australia
Email Address

Metadata File Identifier

a05f7892-d1a6-7506-e044-00144fdd4fa6

Metadata Standard Name

ANZLIC Metadata Profile: An Australian/New Zealand Profile of AS/NZS ISO 19115:2005, Geographic information - Metadata

Metadata Standard Version

1.1

Metadata Date Stamp

2008-02-01

METADATA SECURITY CLASSIFICATION

unclassified

Metadata Contact

Role
pointOfContact
Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
City
Canberra
Administrative Area
ACT
Postal Code
2601
Country
Australia
Email Address
Downloads
For information on acquiring this product,
please contact the Geoscience Australia Sales Centre via:

fax:
+61 2 6249 9960; or
phone:
1800 800 173 (within Australia);
 
+61 2 6249 9966 (outside Australia).

Please note that support hours are 9 am to 5 pm weekdays