Spread beneath 200 acres and reaching depths of more than 1,500 feet, the Coles Hill ore deposit is the largest undeveloped uranium deposit in the United States and the seventh largest in the world. Containing approximately 119 million pounds of uranium oxide, the deposit is estimated to be worth more than $7 billion.
Geologists of Marline Uranium Corporation first discovered the deposit in 1978. In 1982, Marline conduced exploratory test drilling at the site to assess the size, grade, and other characteristics of the ore body, and Virginia Uranium verified and expanded Marline’s studies in 2007. Both companies removed extensive core samples from the ore body, samples which have since been safely stored both on site and at the Virginia Museum of Natural History.
Additionally, since 2008, students and faculty from Virginia Tech have completed four studies of the site focusing on various aspects of the deposit. John Wyatt and Dr. Robert Bodnar undertook a study of how the deposit was formed. J.P. Gannon and Dr. Tom Burbey have analysed hydrology and groundwater flow at Coles Hill. Joshua Whitney, Dr. Erik Westman, and Dr. Chet Weiss have examined the sub-surface structures associated with the deposit. Finally, Mike Tappa and Dr. Robert Bodnar have studied the geochronology of the host rocks.
Location of ore body.
Surface view of north and south ore bodies.
Model of Underground Deposit. Lines indicate holes Marline and Virginia Uranium drilled to obtain rock samples. These samples have been studied extensively to assess the location, size, grade, and chemical characteristics of the deposit.