The Guardian is all of a fluster because some Chinese companies have been looking for uranium in Saudi Arabia. This is obviously the precursor to the building of a bomb. Which is to forget that most important distinction, that between dirt and ore.
There are only the 92 natural elements, a few of them existing in such trivial amounts that we can leave them aside here. Everything is therefore made of the other 85 to 90. So, we can go out into your back garden and find some amount of pretty much everything. There will be helium there, there will be radon, tin, iron, etc etc and yes, there will be uranium.
It is also true that we don’t mine your back garden for uranium pleasing as it would be to cause such pain and grief to those who work at The Guardian. The reason why is that the mining world makes an important distinction, that between dirt and ore. Ore is when there’s enough of the one element in there to make it worth digging the place up to extract it. Dirt is when it’s the usual sort of mixture that ain’t worth processing.
To give an example it is usually estimated that the North Sea contains some $5 trillion in gold. It would also cost some $20 trillion to extract it. The North Sea is therefore dirt as anyone who has ever gone bathing at Scarborough already knows.
At which point:
Revealed: Saudi Arabia may have enough uranium ore to produce nuclear fuel
At one level, of course it does. Uranium is commonly found in many a rock and the Saudis definitely have enough uranium within their borders to build a few bombs, an entire nuclear industry, if they so wish. What they’ve not got as yet is any ore:
Saudi Arabia likely has enough mineable uranium ore reserves to pave the way for the domestic production of nuclear fuel, according to confidential documents seen by the Guardian.
Shrug, so’s Conrwall got enough uranium. It’s all about 10 ppm U. We could mine that, Would cost a fortune because it’s not ore of course but it’s possible.
These are “inferred deposits”, estimated from initial surveys. Further exploration would be needed to confirm uranium reserves and calculate the cost of extraction.
They’ve found some U. What they don’t know is whether it’s ore. Because that’s something you only know after you’ve calculated the cost of extraction.
The Saudis, on this report, are about as close as we all are to the Kernow Kaboom. Please, no one let them know that seawater is 0.0016ppm uranium. They’ll be worrying about Rockall having the bomb next.