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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gold Occurrences in Uruguay

Map of Uruguay

Until 1997 gold was not mined in Uruguay although the potential for finding it existed and a gold mine named El Arenal in Rivera where a $30 million investment created a mine that was expected to last for six years.  This start-off created a sustained growth in the mining industry that is still ongoing.

Although Uruguay has long been noted for its exploitation of non-metallic industrial minerals it has only been within the past few years that metallic minerals have been exploited.  That coupled with significant foreign investment has brought about a rise in production.  The processing of granite is one of the benefactors of this as well as the production of gemstones especially large amethyst lined geodes some as large as houses and other metallic minerals.

Uruguay is a country that has been little explored until recently with the outlook promising for further exploration.  The future of the mining industry in Uruguay is very forward looking with many licenses for mineral exploration having been granted in recent years with national interests driving the further exploration.  Attracting foreign investment is one of the aims of the present government.

Before the continents of Africa and South America split apart millions of years ago Uruguay was joined to Namibia in Africa making it entirely that both gold and diamonds could be found in the country.

Although there are no volcanoes today in Uruguay there is plenty of evidence of past volcanoes and volcanism.  The amethysts are associated with vast flows of basalt that heralded the splitting of the continent of Gondwanaland when the Atlantic Ocean opened during the Triassic/Jurassic to form today’s deposits of basalt.  Earlier volcanic activity occurred during the Precambrian.  These episodes of ancient volcanism provided the heat engines to cause gold to be deposited in favorable places.

Although gold is known to exist in Uruguay it still remains one of the most under-explored countries on the face of the earth.  There is known gold that has already been contracted to a Canadian Mining Company and there are at least two other areas containing gold that haven’t been let out on contract as of yet.  Today the country is like a treasure chest waiting to be opened.

1 comment:

  1. gold mining faded in UY about 1920's. before then there was a mini gold rush in the late 1860's thru early 1900]s.mostly ore crushing, some stream n river. mining companies were financed thru france and spain stock markets.

    you are right, uy is still essentially unexplored. there is one large mine in the north getting a 100k ounces a year.