Lake Way Uranium Deposit

See also : Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA

Lake Way was first put together as a proposed mine in 1978, headed by Wyoming Mineral Corporation (51%) and Delhi International Oil and Vam. In 1982, however, Wyoming Mineral Corp. sold it's share of the joint venture to it's Australian subsidiaries. Early in 1982, the Australian government gave permission for Delhi (with 53.5%) to develop a uranium mine at the Lake Way property near Wiluna, Western Australia, together with Vam (46.5%).

Lake Way comprises about 4,000 tonnes of U3O8, grading at 0.9kgs/tonne or 0.087%; the deposit is of the Yeelirrie type and extraction would be by using the carbonate leach-ion exchange method (3). Lake Way is a very shallow low-grade sedimentary deposit in a 1.5 metre thick seam averaging 4.5 metres below the surface and which would have been mined by a mosaic of small pits over some 9 square kilometres. It has been given federal government approval, despite its suspension on market grounds.

Since 1983, the project has been indefinitely suspended.

The mine would be close to Wiluna townsite, where a large proportion of residents (out of 1500 people) are Aboriginal. The mine is also only 5 kms from a community village called Ngangganawili. The Environmental Impact Statement for the project has admitted that vegetables grown in the area may become radioactively contaminated, that citrus farms may be drained of water, and kangaroo and sheep meat become unfit for consumption (4). As the nineties opened, Delhi still held, with Vam, its licence over the Lake Way project, but there was virtually no prospect (even with the relaxation of the Australian Labor Party's "three mines" uranium policy) that it would be opened (5).

Asarco Australia Ltd bought out its partner and in May 1994 became Wiluna Mines Ltd, whose main focus is on gold.

Current owner and prospects for development uncertain.

Latitude 20 Deg. 40 Min. S
Longitude 120 Deg. 20 Min. E

Information from the "The Gulliver File", Carpentaria Exploration Co Pty Ltd,
Delhi International Oil, Vam Ltd and Wyoming Mineral Corp Dossiers.
Supplementary information from the Uranium Information Centre.
Last Updated - October 2, 1999.

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