In line with the rise of nuclear energy, uranium has become a pivotal commodity. This is especially true for countries that are highly dependent on nuclear energy to fulfill their domestic energy needs. Global uranium production stood at some 62 thousand metric tons in 2016. With a production of approximately 24.6 thousand metric tons, Kazakhstan is the largest single producer of uranium in the world. Other top producers include Canada, Australia, and Niger.
The world’s largest uranium mine is McArthur River in Canada. Some 6,945 metric tons of uranium were generated there in 2016. The second-largest mine is Cigar Lake, also in Canada, with nearly 6,700 metric tons of uranium produced in 2016. Approximately 48 percent of the uranium worldwide is produced by the mining method of in-situ leaching.
Kazakh state-owned KazAtomProm is the world’s leading uranium company, having produced about 13,000 metric tons in 2016. Canadian Cameco and French Areva follow closely behind. In the same year, only nine companies made up more than 80 percent of the total global mine production of uranium.
The leading consumers of uranium worldwide are the countries with the highest share of nuclear energy: the United States, France, and China. The U.S. used nearly 19 thousand metric tons of uranium in 2015. That was twice as much as France, which ranked second. Although there are global tendencies towards alternative energies, projections for nuclear energy consumption show a distinct increase until 2035. That means that uranium will continue to be an important commodity for decades to come.
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