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Domestic Uranium Production Report - Annual

With Data for 2023 Release Date: May 23, 2024 Next Release Date: May 2025 full reportPDF
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Mining, production, shipments, and sales

U.S. uranium mines produced 50,000 pounds of of triuranium octoxide (U3O8), or uranium concentrate in 2023, a significant decrease from the 194,000 pounds produced in 2022 as no production occurred at White Mesa Mill in Utah. The production of uranium concentrate is the first step in the nuclear fuel production process, preceding the conversion of U3O8 into UF6 to enable uranium enrichment, thenthen fuel pellet fabrication, and finally fuel assembly fabrication.

Drilling and exploration

Exploration drilling during 2023 was 877 holes with total footage of 512,000 feet. This is up considerably from the 259 holes with total footage of 151,000 feet drilled in 2022. Development drilling totaled 1,053 holes with total footage of 556,000 feet. This is also up from 2022 development drilling of 749 holes and 384,000 feet. Exploration and development drilling activities in 2023 were at the highest levels since 2013 for number of holes drilled and 2014 for total footage drilled.

Facility status (mills, heap leach plants, and in-situ recovery plants)

At the end of 2023, the White Mesa Mill and the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill in Utah and the Sweetwater Uranium Project in Wyoming were on standby with a total capacity of 5,750 short tons of material per day. In Wyoming, the Sheep Mountain heap leach facility remains in the planning stages.

Regarding in-situ recovery facilities, at the end of 2023 the Lost Creek Project and the Smith Ranch-Highland Operation in Wyoming were operating with a combined capacity of 7.5 million pounds U3O8 per year. Nine in-situ recovery plants were on standby as of the end of 2023 with a combined annual production capacity of 13.8 million pounds U3O8. Ten in-situ recovery plants were planned for four states: New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming with a combined annual production capacity of 15 million pounds U3O8.

Employment and expenditures

Total employment in the U.S. uranium production industry was 340 full-time person-years (one person year is equal to full-time employment for one person) in 2023, a 73% increase from the 196 full-time person-years in 2022 and the highest employment total since 2018.

Expenditures for land, exploration, drilling, production, and reclamation totaled $107.4 million in 2023, up from $84.7 million in 2022 and the highest total expenditures since 2018.

Data tables and figures