Amarillo Grande Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
StagePreliminary Economic Assessment
  • Uranium
  • Vanadium
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Mine Life13 years (as of Jan 1, 2019)
ShapshotPotential to rank amongst the largest uranium districts in the world with lowest quartile operating cost.


Minera Cielo Azul Ltda (operator) 100 % Direct
Blue Sky Uranium Corp. 100 % Indirect
The Amarillo Grande Project currently includes approximately 100 registered properties with a total area of over 280,000 hectares and is 100% controlled by Blue Sky Uranium through its local wholly owned subsidiary Minera Cielo Azul S.A.

Deposit type

  • Sandstone hosted


Property Geology
The strata present at the Ivana prospect are continental epiclastic and pyroclastic rocks of the Oligoceneearly Miocene Chichinales Formation that were deposited unconformably over the rocks of the North Patagonian Massif, or over a marine sequence of Arroyo Barbudo Formation and red beds section of Neuquén Group.

The Chichinales Formation has been divided into three members. The lower member, host to the Ivana uranium-vanadium mineralization, is commonly cross-bedded medium to coarse sandstone with silicified logs and fossil-wood debris. The lower Chichinales, at the Ivana prospect, contains layers of coarse, poorly sorted conglomerate, pebbly tuffaceous sandstone and small discontinuous layers and interbeds of mudstone and sandstone with carbonate cement.

The Middle Members contains characteristic paleosols in sequences of siltstone, mudstone and minor layers of fine sandstone. Finally, the Upper member comprises uniform thick sequences of coarse to fine tuffaceous sandstone and siltstone with interstratified mudstone at the bottom and mostly siltstone to fine sandstone at the top (Bjerg, 1997). Regionally some alteration patterns have been defined by diagenetic red beds style oxidation and gray reduction-bleaching in Chichinales sandstone.

Outside the Ivana prospect, the upper part of the Chichinales interfingers with marginal marine sediments of the Bajo del Gualicho formation. Unconsolidated Quaternary deposits consisting of fine lacustrine salar sediments, sand dunes, and alluvial and colluvial accumulations cover parts of the area.

The uranium-vanadium mineralized horizons are hosted mostly in medium to coarse-grained, poorly consolidated sandstones, minor conglomerates, and mudstones of the lower Chichinales Formation; in weathered basement in fractures and secondary porosity; and in the regolith debris at the basement unconformity. Occasionally, uranium occurrences have been intercepted in the Arroyo Barbudo Formation and in red beds of the Neuquén group. The majority of uranium (~90%) in uranium-bearing minerals identified at Ivana is U+6 and therefore can be classified as secondary or oxide mineralization. The uranium mineralization has been divided into two types based on dominant uranium mineralogy and/or alteration and gangue mineralogy; 1) Oxide mineralization characterized by carnotite and oxide alteration minerals, and 2) Altered “primary” mineralization characterized by variant of coffinite, that has been named ß-coffinite (beta-coffinite) by the Company and which contains mainly U+6 rather than U+4 which is normal for coffinite, and pyrite. These two varieties of uranium mineralization are associated with alteration assemblages that suggest aspects of at least two types of uranium deposits, and related depositional environments, are present in the Ivana deposit.

Oxide Mineralization
The oxide mineralization at Ivana is visibly dominated by carnotite, the yellow potassium uranium vanadate [K2(UO2)2(VO4)2.3H2O] that occurs as coatings on pebbles and sand grains, and as disseminations in poorly consolidated sandstone and conglomerate. This mineralization style is closely associated with silicified or carbonized fossil wood and clusters of gypsum crystals that have grown in soft fine sediments. The most abundant uranium mineral identified by the recent QEMSCAN® work (Creighton, 2018) on “oxide” type mineralization, however, was ß-coffinite (beta-coffinite).

The mineralogy of all secondary uranium (U+6) minerals in the oxide mineralization at Ivana has not been completely determined. The term carnotite has been used in sample and RC drill cuttings descriptions as a field description for the yellow-coloured radioactive mineral. In a recent QEMSCAN analysis of samples from the Ivana deposit (Creighton, 2018) carnotite was confirmed and lesser tyuyamunite, leibigite, and a previously unreported uranium mineral were detected. Leibigite is a hydrated calcium-uranium carbonate [Ca2(UO2)(CO3)3.11H20] and appears to belong with the oxide mineralization, as does tyuyamunite, a hydrated calcium-uranium vanadate [Ca(UO2)2V2O8.(5-8)H2O]. The "previously unreported uranium mineral" may be a complex mixture of a uranium mineral and a clay mineral such that the QEMSCAN cannot resolve a match with the any known uranium mineral.

Oxide mineralization is associated with yellow or brown iron oxides derived from oxidized pyrite, and red iron oxides from altered iron or iron-titanium minerals, which are relatively common as disseminations in sandstones or as components in heavy mineral layers. The oxidation of these ron minerals has produced irregular iron oxide stained zones associated with oxide mineralization.

Altered Primary Mineralization
In the Ivana deposit altered primary mineralization has been found only in RC drill hole interceptions from 5-20 m in depth and has not been identified at the surface. The altered primary mineralization is characterized by disseminated pyrite and gray-coloured bleaching, and some of the primary mineralization contains a dark-brown to black vitreous carbonaceous looking material associated with disseminated pyrite. The high-grade mineralization also contains smoky quartz grains, and minor natural organic carbon. Different forms of overgrowths of pyrite have been documented including cubic crystals (10 µm) with overgrowths of sub-euhedral crystals (2 to 3 µm) and/or overgrowths of botryoidal pyrite (1 to 2 µm).

Distribution of mineralization types
The Ivana deposit is characterized by two stacked zones of uranium mineralization, the upper zone and the lower zone. The upper zone is comprised of oxidized mineralization, and the lower zone contains a mixture of oxidized and reduced primary-style mineralization. The two zones occur together through most of the deposit but there are localized areas where only one zone is present. The upper zone averages 2.7 m in thickness, with a maximum of 10 m, while the lower zone has a maximum of 20 m and has an average thickness of 6.2 m.

Deposit Types
The uranium-vanadium deposit on the five properties at Ivana have some of the characteristics of two types of uranium deposits widely recognized around the world: sandstone-hosted uranium deposits and surficial uranium deposits.

The US Geological Survey and the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) have classified uranium deposits into numerous different types based on their geology and host rocks (IAEA, 2009; Cox and Singer, 1992). The sandstone-hosted type, with its many variants, has been recognized for many years, but surficial uranium deposits are a relatively newly recognized uranium deposit type, new enough that they were not even mentioned by Cox and Singer (1992). Sandstone-hosted uranium deposits have recently accounted for approximately 30% of world uranium production (Burrows, 2010); surficial deposits, because of their recent recognition and lower grades, account for much lower production and resources.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.



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CommodityProductUnitsAvg. AnnualLOM
Uranium U3O8 M lbs 1.418
Vanadium Oxide M lbs 0.56.5

Operational metrics

Daily mining rate 00000
Daily processing rate 0000
Annual mining rate 00
Annual processing rate 000
Stripping / waste ratio 000
Waste tonnes, LOM 00000
Ore tonnes mined, LOM 00000
Total tonnes mined, LOM 00000
Tonnes processed, LOM 000
* According to 2019 study.

Production Costs

Cash costs U3O8 USD 20.6 / lb *  
Total cash costs U3O8 USD 21.4 / lb *  
Total cash costs U3O8 USD 16.2 / lb *  
All-in sustaining costs (AISC) U3O8 USD 18.3 / lb *  
Assumed price U3O8 USD 50 / lb *  
Assumed price V2O5 USD 15 / lb *  
* According to 2019 study / presentation.
Net of By-Product.

Operating Costs

OP mining costs ($/t mined) USD 2.26 *  
OP mining costs ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
Processing costs ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
G&A ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
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* According to 2019 study.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
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OP OpEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Processing OpEx $M USD 180
G&A costs $M USD 49.9
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Pre-tax NPV @ 5% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
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Pre-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
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After-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
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Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Source Source
Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
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Total WorkforceYear
Subscription required 2019


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