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Uranium Production by Country 2024

Uranium is a chemical element with the symbol U and atomic number 92. It was discovered by Martin Klaproth, a German chemist, in 1789. Uranium naturally occurs in soil, water, and rock found on the Earth. It is commercially extracted from uranium-producing minerals like uraninite and is one of the heaviest of all naturally-occurring elements, about 18.7 times as dense as water. Due to this density, uranium has been used as an abundant source of concentrated energy for over 60 years.

Uranium Uses

How uranium is used depends on the concentration of 238U, 234U, and 235U present. In its natural state, uranium contains 99.27% 238U concentration, 0.711% 235U concentration, and hardly any concentration of 234U.

Low enriched uranium is most commonly used as fuel for commercial reactors. This type of uranium contains a 235U concentration between 0.711% and 20%, but it is considered “reactor-grade” when the concentration is between 3% and 5%.

Highly enriched uranium is used in nuclear weapons, naval propulsion reactors, and in some research reactors. A 20% concentration of 235U is found in highly enriched uranium. This is the type of uranium that was used in the first atomic bomb, which was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945.

Depleted uranium is simply a co-product of the enrichment process, containing 0.711% or less of 235U.

Mining Methods for Uranium

As recently as 1990, 55% of the world’s uranium was produced by underground mines. Although that number shrank over the next decade, in 2000 the new Canadian mines increased it once more. In situ leach (ISL), a mining process that recovers minerals through boreholes drilled into a deposit, has steadily increased its contribution. In 2021, the ISL method accounted for 66% of the uranium production, largely due to Kazakhstan.

Uranium is still obtained using the underground and open-pit method, which accounted for 29% of production in 2021. The remaining 5% of production occurs as a byproduct.

Worldwide Uranium Production

Uranium Production2

In 2021, 20 countries produced 77%, 48,303 tons, of the world’s uranium. Kazakhstan, Canada, and Australia alone produced three-fourths of the world’s production from their mines.

The following countries are the top producers of uranium, based on 2021 figures:

Country
uWeight 2021
Kazakhstan21,819
Namibia5,753
Canada4,693
Australia4,192
Uzbekistan3,520
Russia2,635
Niger2,248
China1,600
India600
Ukraine455

Uranium Production Outlook

Global uranium production decreased to the lowest level in 2020 due to COVID-19 mine closures. While production has increased, clean energy sources have caused the demand for uranium to grow disproportionate to its current supply. The depletion of Cold War stockpiles of uranium has put a further strain on production. It is forecasted that uranium mining will not meet the reactor demands for at least 15 years.

Download Table Data

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Country
uWeight Historical (Tons)
uWeight 2022 (Tons)
uWeight 2021 (Tons)
uWeight 2020 (Tons)
uWeight 2019 (Tons)
uWeight 2018 (Tons)
Canada554,4757,3514,6933,8856,9387,001
United States378,038758658582
Kazakhstan349,78921,22721,81919,47722,80821,705
Australia240,5794,5534,1926,2036,6136,517
Germany219,68500000
South Africa165,692200192250346346
Namibia158,8565,6135,7535,4135,4765,525
Niger156,7972,0202,2482,9912,9832,911
Czech Republic112,05500000
Russia90,7252,5082,6352,8462,9112,904
Uzbekistan76,8083,3003,5203,5003,5003,450
France76,02100000
China53,7121,7001,6001,8851,8851,885
Ukraine24,670100455744800790
India600600400308423
Pakistan4545454545
Brazil43291500
Iran2021717171
Malawi00000
Romania00000

Which country produces the most Uranium?

Kazakhstan is the country that produces the most uranium. The country is responsible for 46% of the world's overall uranium production.

Frequently Asked Questions

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