U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Nuclear & Uranium
Domestic Uranium Production Report - Annual
With Data for 2011 | Release Date: May 09, 2012 | Next Release Date: May 2013
Previous domestic uranium production reports
U.S. uranium exploration drilling was 5,441 holes covering 3.3 million feet in 2011. Development drilling was 5,156 holes and 3.0 million feet. Combined, total uranium drilling was 10,597 holes covering 6.3 million feet, 47 percent more holes than in 2010. Expenditures for uranium drilling in the United States were $54 million in 2011, an increase of 20 percent compared with 2010.
Mining, production, shipments, and sales
Beginning with this report, Tables 4 and 5 include County and State location of existing and planned mills and in-situ-leach (ISL) plants.
U.S. uranium mines produced 4.1 million pounds U3O8 in 2011, 3 percent less than in 2010, from 10 mines (underground and in-situ-leach) and one other source. Five underground mines produced ore containing uranium during 2011, one more than during 2010. Uranium ore is stockpiled and shipped to a mill, to be milled into uranium concentrate (a yellow or brown powder). Additionally, five ISL mining operations produced solutions containing uranium in 2011 that was processed into uranium concentrate at ISL plants.
Total production of U.S. uranium concentrate in 2011 was 4.0 million pounds U3O8, 6 percent less than in 2010, from six facilities: one mill in Utah (White Mesa Mill) and five ISL plants (Alta Mesa Project, Crow Butte Operation, Hobson ISR Plant/La Palangana, Smith Ranch-Highland Operation, and Willow Creek Project). Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming produced uranium concentrate at the five ISL plants in 2011.
Total shipments of uranium concentrate from U.S. mill and ISL plants were 4.0 million pounds U3O8 in 2011, 22 percent less than in 2010. U.S. producer's sold 2.9 million pounds U3O8 of uranium concentrate in 2011 at a weighted-average price of $52.36 per pound U3O8.
Facility status (mills and in-situ-leach plants)
At the end of 2011, the White Mesa mill in Utah was operating with a capacity of 2,000 short tons of ore per day. Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill in Utah and Sweetwater Uranium Project in Wyoming were on standby with a total capacity of 3,750 short tons of ore per day. There is one mill (Piñon Ridge Mill) planned for Colorado.
At the end of 2011, five U.S. uranium ISL plants were operating with a combined capacity of 10.8 million pounds U3O8 per year (Crow Butte Operation in Nebraska; Alta Mesa Project, Hobson ISR Plant/La Palangana in Texas; Smith Ranch-Highland Operation and Willow Creek Project in Wyoming). Kingsville Dome and Rosita ISL plants in Texas were on standby with a total capacity of 2.0 million pounds U3O8 per year. Nichols Ranch ISR Project was under construction in Wyoming. There are nine ISL plants planned in Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
Total employment in the U.S. uranium production industry was 1,191 person-years in 2011, an increase of 11 percent from the 2010 total. Exploration employment was 208 person-years, about the same as in 2010. Milling and processing employment was 419 person-years in 2011, and increased the most from 2010 (24 percent). Uranium mining employment was 462 person-years and increased 16 percent, while reclamation employment decreased 18 percent to 102 person-years from 2010 to 2011. Five States (Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming) accounted for 74 percent of total employment in the uranium production industry in 14 States: Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
Total expenditures for land, exploration, drilling, production, and reclamation were $319 million in 2011, 15 percent more than in 2010. Expenditures for U.S. uranium production, including facility expenses, were the largest category of expenditures at $169 million in 2011 and were up by 27 percent from the 2010 level. Uranium exploration expenditures were $44 million and increased 26 percent from 2010 to 2011. Expenditures for land were $20 million in 2011, a 3-percent decrease compared with 2010. Reclamation expenditures were $34 million, a 25-percent decrease compared with 2010.