Distribution of uranium in the Bisbee district, Cochise County, Arizona

Trace Elements Investigations 426



The Bisbee district has been an important source of copper for many years, and substantial amounts of lead and zinc ore and minor amounts of manganese ore have been mined during certain periods. The copper deposits occur both as low-grade disseminated ore in the Sacramento Hill stock and as massive sulfide (and secondary oxide and carbonate) replacement bodies in Paleozoic limestones that are intruded by the stock and related igneous bodies. The lead-zinc production has come almost entirely from limestone replacement bodies.

The disseminated ore exhibits no anomalous radioactivity, and samples from the Lavender pit contain from 0.002 to less than 0.001 percent equivalent uranium. The limestone replacement ores are distinctly radioactive and stoping areas can be readily distinguished from from unmineralized ground on the basis of radioactivity alone. The equivalent uranium content of the copper replacement ores ranges from 0.002 to 0.014 percent and averages about 0.005 percent; the lead-zinc replacement ores average more than 0.007 percent equivalent uranium.

Most of the uranium in the copper ores of the district is retained in the smelter slag of a residual concentrate; the slag contains about 0.009 percent equivalent uranium. Uranium carried off each day by acid mine drainage is roughly equal to 1 percent of that being added to the slag dump. Although the total amount of uranium in the district is large, no minable concentrations of ore-grade material are known; samples of relatively high-grade material represent only small fractions of tons at any one locality.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Distribution of uranium in the Bisbee district, Cochise County, Arizona
Series title Trace Elements Investigations
Series number 426
DOI 10.3133/tei426
Year Published 1956
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: 33 p.; 2 Plates: 11.92 x 11.52 inches and 15.90 x 14.18 inches
Country United States
State Arizona
County Cochise County
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details