Australian news outlets are reporting that ten jars — or 3kg — of uranium oxide, the main ore for uranium have been found outside BHP Billiton’s mining lease at Olympic Dam.

The material was located outside outside a contractor’s accommodation camp at the mine — the world’s biggest uranium deposit — in the far north of South Australia, reports ABC News.

It was not known yesterday whether the incident was theft, a slip-up or something more sinister.

“Inquiries are under way to identify the person or persons responsible,” BHP said.

The Oz is calling it an “apparent theft” noting that the now-recovered radioactive material, “is used to make nuclear fuel and weapons”.

It recalls the heady days of late 2006 when a radioactive canister went missing  in Western Australia — it had literally fallen off the back of a truck — as reported in Crikey.

To reminisce, click here and here.