Zayed University professor leads uranium geology research in the MENA region

23 May 2022

A newly published book, entitled ‘Uranium Geology in the Middle East and North Africa,’ highlights the major reserves of resources that the region enjoys, tackles the exploration era and Development Program around that exclusive field.

The book was written by Prof. Dr. Fares Howari, Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, Zayed University, in collaboration with international experts, Prof. Salman Abdel-Aty, former director of the Egyptian Nuclear Materials Authority and Prof. Philip Goodell, lead at the Center for Entrepreneurship for Geosciences at the University of Texas.

The authors provide rich and detailed coverage of key contemporary topics in this field and as such provide a valuable resource for researchers who wish to access, research, discoveries and know about the latest studies involved in the exploration of uranium ores. This book includes contemporary methods used to study geological, geochemical and geophysical data and using these to predict locations of these ores throughout the Middle East and surrounding countries.

Prof. Howari, mentioned that “In recent decades the world has witnessed gradual but influential changes in the production and consumption patterns of hydrocarbon energy, namely oil and gas. Considerable efforts have been taken to find suitable sources of energy production as alternatives to oil and gas. Nuclear energy, using uranium, remains one of the most promising of these options and is widely used to replace the hundreds of millions of tons of oil consumed by countries. The race for new and promising sources of uranium material and the development of various technological ways to identify and prospect uranium ores in the various sites across the world, has been intense. Countries within the Middle East and the North African (MENA) region are leaders in uranium research and exploration, whether in the field of prospecting, knowledge and study of the geology of oil reserves or the search for new and promising uranium ores.”

The large and wide geographic and geological areas covered by this book is of significance and importance to researchers, doctoral and master's students, university students and research centers. Distinguishing this book from previously published works in this field. Moreover, the authors propose a new classification system that has illustrative diagrams, cross-sections, and useful satellite images. This book provides a systematic review of all available information including correlates with geographic classification and synthesis, that will contribute to providing ideas and data for the development of uranium exploration and production programs.

A major finding of this book is the expected and recommended number of promising uranium provinces in the Middle East and North Africa region. The different explanations for the distribution, environments and geology of uranium and the determination of these provinces are examined; based on existing geological and tectonic environments, geochronological sequences and geochemical characteristics. Systematic review and field visits to uranium ores sites in this region are used to stimulate the development of this proposed new classification system; based on the geological and mineralogy of uranium in the Middle East. These proposed new classifications combine the geochemistry of uranium and its behavior in terrestrial and geological processes.

The book includes five chapters covering a broad cross section of results related to describing the geological processes of exploration in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as potential and candidate sites for the presence of uranium and its ores. These sites are focused on and studied in detail. The most important modern methods used in research and exploration for uranium are also reviewed and discussed. The different classification methods of the approved geological systems based on the geochemical cycle of uranium are included. Concluding with a review of promising and new sources of uranium ores across the MENA region, including Egypt, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, and Yemen. The reader will notice that this book is replete with many detailed maps and drawings that show the most important potential sites for the distribution of uranium ores in this region.