El Sherana

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El Sherana is an abandoned uranium mine in the South Alligator River Valley of the Northern Territory, Australia.[1]

The deposit was discovered in 1954 by a United Uranium NL exploration team, led by Joe Fischer, with a ground radiometric survey.[2] The site was named after the daughters of a team staff member, William 'Bluey' Halpin Kay - Elvira, Sherryl and Lana. El Sherana operated from 1958-1959 and El Sherana West from 1961-1964. The site was rehabilitated between 1988 and 1992.[3][4][5]

El Sherana was the largest producer of high grade uranium ore (with minor gold and silver) amongst the mines along the South Alligator River Valley. It had underground and open-cut operations. Production from El Sherana was 38,437 long tons at a grade of 12.42 lb U3O8 per long ton (0.55% U3O8). From El Sherana West, 21,316 long tons at a grade of 18.35 lb U3O8 per long ton (0.82% U3O8) were produced.[3]

At El Sherana and El Sherana West, uranium-gold mineralisation occurs in two general settings: at or near the shallow-dipping Koolpin Formation/Coronation Sandstone unconformity, where it is cut by normal and reverse faults (El Sherana pit). The host rocks are chert-banded siltstone and carbonaceous shale adjacent to sandstone (Coronation Sandstone) and altered volcanics (Pul Pul Rhyolite), in irregular zones along the contacts between cherty ferruginous shale and carbonaceous shale (El Sherana West). The ore consisted of massive pods and disseminated veinlets of pitchblende, with secondary metatorbernite, autunite, gummite and gold, with minor pyrite, galena and chalcopyrite. Gold occurred as veinlets within pitchblende or as separate zones of mineralisation. Gold distribution extends beyond the high grade pitchblende pods that in places contain visible gold and forms an envelope around the poddy high grade uranium mineralisation, with grades of up to 0.2 ounce per ton (5.5 g/tonne).[3][5][6]


  1. ^ Doering, C.; Ryan, B.; Bollhöfer, A.; Sellwood, J.; Fox, T.; Pfitzner, J. (2010). "Internal Report 586: Results of gamma dose rate surveys at remediated, former uranium mining and milling sites in the South Alligator River Valley". Canberra, Australia: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  2. ^ Eupene, Geoff (April 2009). "Obituary: William Joseph (Joe) Fischer AM" (PDF). The AusIMM bulletin. Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: 91–92. ISSN 1034-6775. Retrieved 13 September 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Porter, C.A. (July 1988). "Coronation Hill Joint Venture - El Sherana/El Sherana West: compilation and assessment of uranium data". GEMIS - Geoscience Exploration and Mining Information System. Darwin, NT: Northern Territory Geological Survey. Retrieved 13 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Francis, Adrienne (18 January 2007). "Uranium mining pioneer". ABC Rural: Northern Territory. Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  5. ^ a b "Uranium mining in the Alligator Rivers Region". Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  6. ^ McKay, Aden D.; Miezitis, Yanis (2001). Australia’s Uranium Resources, Geology and Development Of Deposits (pdf). Canberra, ACT: AGSO - Geoscience Australia. p. 78. ISBN 0 642 46716 1. Retrieved 13 September 2016. 

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