Largest Consumers of Uranium along with Top Producers

Uranium was discovered back in the 18th century and the two German physicists, Otto Hahn, and Fritz Strassmann, by conducting a series of experiments, found out that energy is yielded by splitting uranium into parts. So after some research and further experiments, the use of uranium was initiated on a large scale as an immense amount of energy was dissipated in the fission. Nowadays Uranium is the primary element in the nuclear reactors, and it requires specific environments as the emitted radiations are quite dangerous.

The substance is commonly used for non-radioactive purposes in the military. It is not quite flammable, but it is quite hard and dense. Due to these specialties, it is used in the military ordinance for high density penetrating artillery. Bullets made from it have the capability to penetrate even more than the normal ones. It is also used for making aircraft equipment and medical supplies. Nuclear bombs are also made from it: the United States and Russia and the largest consumers of this mineral. During the cold war, the use of uranium was increased because Russia and the US were planning on making more and more nuclear missiles for defense purposes.

Largest Consumers of Uranium:

Largest Consumers of UraniumThe table below shows the list of top consumers of Uranium:

Sr. No. Country Consumption Kilotons
1 United States 18.16
2 France 9.21
3 Russia 6.26
4 China 5.34
5 South Korea 5.01
6 Ukraine 2.25
7 United Kingdom 1.73
8 Germany 1.69
9 Canada 1.63
10 Sweden 1.47

The United States is the Biggest Consumer of Uranium

The United States is the largest consumer of Uranium as it consumes 18.61 metric tons of Uranium as per the statistics of the year 2016. Most of the uranium used by the United States is mined locally and is used for several purposes. It is used primarily in the nuclear reactors as fuel and is also used for producing electricity.

France is the Second Largest Consumer of Uranium

Uranium Production

France is the second largest consumer of Uranium as it consumes 9210 metric tons of Uranium as per the studies of 2016. The country consumed half the amount of Uranium US consumed. The country uses Uranium for several different purposes including electricity production.

Consumption in Russia:

Russia is the third largest consumer of Uranium and the 5th largest producer as well. The Russian nuclear industry underwent complete overall restructuring. In 2007 the production rate was quite high. Three operating mines extracted about 4,000 tons of tU3O8 in 2007. Both of the ISR mines are mining at an even higher speed now to increase the production. The very first nuclear weapon of Russia was tested on August 29, 1949. The country is also a member of the non-proliferation treaty. Russia has the largest nuclear stockpile. The country has a total of 6850 warheads, and 1444 of them are deployed

Trends in Consumption:

The annual worldwide consumption is almost 190 million pounds. On the other hand, the global extraction is about 140 million pounds. So that leaves us with a deficit of 50 million pounds. In the next decade, it is expected that many new mining projects will be installed. The world is now also focusing on using uranium to produce large amounts of electricity. That is why the demand is expected to increase a lot shortly. Not only that but the researchers also state that this thirst can only be quenched through freshly mined uranium.

Usage of Uranium

The metal is quite hard and dense and is used in the making of ammunition. It’s used to manufacture bullets that can penetrate through the thick layers of armored vehicles. Uranium is also used in the manufacturing of nuclear bombs. During the Cold War, the United States and Russia consumed large amounts of Uranium to manufacture nuclear missiles. The United States produced it’s first two nukes using uranium, The Little Boy and Fat Man which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Uranium is also used in some countries for producing electricity as it dissipates a large amount of energy. 2 pounds of Uranium 235 can produce almost 20 Terajoules of energy which is approximately equal to the amount of energy of 1500 tons of coal.

Companies that Produce most Uranium:

Companies that Produce most UraniumIn most of the conventional mines, there is always a mill where they crush the ore. Later it is grounded and leached using sulfuric acid to dissolve uranium oxide. At the treatment plant of an ISL operation or a mil of conventional mine, pure uranium is obtained through ion exchange. After this, it is preprocessed, dried and packed in the form of U3O8.

Some mills and ISL operations also use another technique of extraction. Instead of extracting through sulfuric acid, they use carbonate leaching. The treatment process gets quite complex when this technique is implied. Adding to that uranium is obtained as a bi-product of minerals like copper and phosphate. The production industry of this radioactive mineral was quite consolidated. This was because of the takeovers, closures, and mergers.

Following is a list of some of the nations that are responsible for mining out the most quantity of uranium. Almost 86% of the mineral came from these companies.

Sr. No Company Country tonnes U Percentage production
1 Kazatomprom Republic of Kazakhstan 12,488 21
2 Cameco Canada 9155 15
3 Orano France 8031 13
4 Uranium One Russia 5102 9
5 CNNC & CGN China 3897 7
6 ARMZ Russia 2917 5
7 Rio Tinto Australia 2558 4
8 Navoi Uzbekistan 2404 4
9 BHP Billiton Australia 2381 4
10 Energy Asia Singapore 2218 4
11 General Atomics/Quasar Australia 1556 3
12 Sopamin Niger 1188 2
13 Paladin Australia 970 2
14 Other 4667 7
Total 59,532 100%

Top 10 Producers of Uranium:

Top 10 Producers of UraniumDown below is a list of countries which produce the most amount of Uranium. Kazakhstan is the largest producer of Uranium as per the statistics of the year 2016. The country produced about 24600 metric tons of uranium in 2016. The second largest producer in Canada as it produced 14000 metric tons of Uranium in 2016.

Country 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Kazakhstan 19,451 21,317 22,451 23,127 23,800 24,575 23,391
Canada 9145 8999 9331 9134 13,325 14,039 13,116
Australia 5983 6991 6350 5001 5654 6315 5882
Niger 4351 4667 4518 4057 4116 3479 3449
Namibia 3258 4495 4323 3255 2993 3654 4224
Russia 2993 2872 3135 2990 3055 3004 2917
Uzbekistan (est) 2500 2400 2400 2400 2385 2404 2404
China (est) 885 1500 1500 1500 1616 1616 1885
USA 1537 1596 1792 1919 1256 1125 940
Ukraine (est) 890 960 922 926 1200 1005 550
South Africa 582 465 531 573 393 490 308
India (est) 400 385 385 385 385 385 421
Czech Republic 229 228 215 193 155 138 0
Romania (est) 77 90 77 77 77 50 0
Pakistan (est) 45 45 45 45 45 45 45
Brazil (est) 265 326 192 55 40 44 0
France 6 3 5 3 2 0 0
Germany 51 50 27 33 0 0 0
Malawi 846 1101 1132 369 0 0 0
Total world 53,494 58,490 59,331 56,042 60,497 62,368 59,531
tonnes U3O8 63,084 68,976 69,969 66,089 71,343 73,548 70,201
% of world demand* 85% 86% 92% 85% 90% 98% 92%

The demand for Uranium is quite high because it is used as a fuel in nuclear power. As per the studies of the Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources in Germany, Kazakhstan is the largest producer and exporter of this. It is basically a Central Asian country, and it produced about 24,600 metric tons of uranium in one year. It makes up to 40% of the total production in the world. Canada generated approximately 22.5% of the total production in the world.

On the third rank, comes Australia. It is responsible for 10.1% of the total production in the world. If we consider the natural resources, Australia has the most. More than 1.1 million tons of uranium can be extracted from the Australian lands. There are some doubts about the mining of this valuable mineral. Due to that, the government is not approving any new mining projects in the western part. But the projects that are already installed and functional are allowed to proceed. The world has more than 3.5 million tons of it. So as of now, there is no shortage.

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