Top Uranium-producing Companies in the World

Interested in uranium? Check out our list of the top uranium-producing companies of 2016.

uranium-producing companies

The uranium market has been fairly sluggish so far this year, with the U3O8 spot price clocking in at just above $22 per pound as of April 24.

Even so, many experts agree that the long-term outlook for uranium is positive, which bodes well for uranium-producing companies worldwideDemand for the commodity is projected to be 25 percent higher by 2025 according to the World Nuclear Association, mainly due to Asia’s growing nuclear energy industry.

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at which companies produce the most uranium. The list below lays out the five top publicly traded uranium companies of 2016, providing a brief overview of what they got up to last year and and news they have released so far in 2017.

1. Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ)

2016 uranium production: 27 million pounds (13,500 MT)

Cameco accounts for approximately 17 percent of global uranium production, and has mines in three countries. In the US it owns the Smith Ranch-Highland operation in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, as well as the Crow Butte operation in Nebraska. The company’s notable Canadian operations include Cigar Lake and McArthur River/Key Lake, where it holds partial ownership. Additionally, Cameco has a 60-percent stake in a mine in Kazakhstan.

In 2016, Cameco produced slightly less uranium than it did the previous year. Commenting on the company’s performance, President and CEO Tim Gitzel said, “[t]he past year proved to be another difficult period for the uranium market. However, despite the uranium spot price hitting a 12-year low, the performance of our core business — uranium — was solid, and in line with our outlook.” 

So far in 2017, the company has hit at least one snag. In February, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings terminated its uranium supply contract with the company, citing force majeure circumstances. Cameco has rejected the termination, and has said it will enforce its rights to recover losses. Terminating the contract could cost the company $1.3 billion in revenue for uranium deliveries through 2028.

2. AREVA (EPA:AREVA)

2016 uranium production: 24.7 million pounds (11,186 MT)

AREVA produces about 15 percent of the world’s uranium at mines in Canada, Kazakhstan and Niger. Unlike Cameco, the company saw a slight increase in uranium production from 2015 to 2016.

Notably, AREVA has a 51-percent stake in the KATCO joint venture. Kazatomprom holds the other 49-percent stake, and the companies are operating the Kazakhstan-based Muyunkum and Tortkuduk mines; together they reportedly cover the world’s largest in-situ recovery uranium mining site in the world. In April 2017, AREVA and Kazatomprom signed an agreement to further strengthen and develop the KATCO partnership.

3. Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO,ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO)

2016 uranium production: 6.3 million pounds (3,171 MT)

Rio Tinto produced more uranium in 2016 than it did in 2015, and plans to continue increasing production. In its 2016 report, the company says it plans to produce between 6.5 and 7.5 million pounds of uranium in 2017.

The company’s uranium output comes partially through the 68.4-percent stake it holds in Energy Resources of Australia (ASX:ERA), which holds the Ranger mine, Australia’s longest continually operating producer of uranium. Rio Tinto also has a stake in Rossing Uranium, which runs the Rossing mine in Namibia; Rossing is one of the world’s largest and longest-running open-pit uranium mines.

4. Paladin Energy (TSX:PDN)

2016 uranium production: 4.9 million pounds (2,460.5 MT) of U3O8 

Paladin Energy’s flagship operation is the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia, though it also holds the Kayelekera mine in Malawi. The former is currently producing, but the latter is on care and maintenance.

While Paladin was a significant uranium-producing company last year, in 2017 it has struggled. Early in the year it proposed a balance sheet restructuring in order to reduce its debt obligations and and extend the maturity of its remaining debt. Since then, CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings, which bought a 25-percent stake in Langer Heinrich last year, has attempted to exercise an option to acquire the rest of the mine. Paladin has said it plans to enter arbitration with CNNC.

5. BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP,ASX:BHP,LSE:BLT)

2016 uranium production: 4.4 million pounds (2,460.5 MT) of payable uranium in concentrate

BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine in Australia is one of the largest ore bodies in the world. In addition to uranium, it also holds copper, gold and silver. According to the company, Olympic Dam has a fully integrated processing facility. Midway through 2016, the company announced plans for a low-key expansion of the mine over the course of five years.

Other uranium-producing companies

Wondering which other companies produced uranium last year? Companies that produced smaller amounts include Energy Fuels (TSX:EFR,NYSEMKT:UUUU), which put out 1 million pounds (460.4 MT) of U3O8, and Ur-Energy (TSX:URE,NYSEMKT:URG), whose 2016 U3O8 output came in at 538,004 pounds (244 MT).

It’s also worth noting that Energy Resources of Australia produced 5.2 million pounds (2,351 MT) of uranium oxide last year. As mentioned, the company holds the Ranger mine in Australia. While mining stopped at Ranger in 2012, the company is currently still producing uranium oxide from stockpiled ore. In 2017 it is forecast to produce about the same amount it put out in 2016.

Kazatomprom and Uranium One are also major uranium-producing companies, but are not included on this list because they are privately owned.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2014.

Is there a uranium-producing company you think should be included on this list? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


This article is updated each year. Please scroll to the top for most recent information.

2015 Top Uranium-producing Companies in the World

By Jocelyn Aspa

Uranium prices have been at an all-time low lately, dipping below the $20 per pound mark, causing analysts to speculate when the uranium sector will pick back up again. With its low cost, there are a number of uranium producers who have managed to keep costs low and survive during tough times. 

While sizable uranium deposits are located worldwide, many countries only allow state-owned companies the rights to mine; that means there are fewer publicly traded producers in countries like Kazakhstan and Russia, both of which are high on the list of top uranium-producing countries. There are nevertheless numerous publicly traded uranium-producing companies that investors may want to be aware of.

Current producers

Here’s a brief overview of some of the top producing companies in 2015.

1. Cameco (TSX:CCO)

2015 uranium production: 14,200 tonnes

Cameco accounts for approximately 18 percent of global uranium production from its mines in Canada, the US and Kazakhstan. In the US, there is the Smith Ranch-Highland mine in Wyoming’s Powder River basin and the Crow Butte mine in Nebraska. In Canada, the company has 69.8-percent ownership of the world’s largest uranium mine, McArthur River, and a 50-percent stake in the world’s second-largest high-grade uranium deposit, Cigar Lake, in the Athabasca Basin.

Total uranium production for 2015 was 14,200 tonnes, a 22 percent increase from the previous year. The McArthur River is allegedly the world’s largest high-grade uranium mine while the Key Lake is the largest uranium mill.

Between 2000 and 2015, Cameco’s total production from the McArthur River/Key Lake totals roughly 291.1 million pounds with 234.9 million pounds of estimated reserves. In 2015, production at Cigar Lake was 5.7 million pounds. Cameco has a licensed capacity of 9 million pounds per year (a 50 percent interest of 18 million pounds).

Cameco also holds a 60-percent interest in the Inkai ISR mine in Kazakhstan, with the remaining 40 percent owned by Kazatomprom. In 2015, total production was 5.8 million pounds, with Cameco’s shares being 3.4 million pounds. The mine’s production was 17 percent higher than it was in 2014.

2. AREVA (EPA:AREVA)

2015 uranium production: 11,002 tonnes

AREVA is active in five continents exploring for new deposits as well as mining and milling uranium ore. According to its website, the company had a market share of close to 16 percent in 2015, making it one of the largest uranium producers in the world. Currently, AREVA has operating mines in Canada, Kazakhstan and Niger, and currently has projects under development in Africa.

AREVA owns a 51-percent stake in the world’s second-largest mines, Tortkuduk and Myunkum in Kazakhstan. The mines are operated through a joint venture between AREVA and Kazatomprom, a partnership that is known as KATCO and was formed in 1996.

In 2015, AREVA produced 11,002 tonnes of uranium–a significant increase from its 8,959 tonnes produced in 2014.

3. BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP)

2015 uranium production: 3,144 tonnes

BHP’s Olympic Dam uranium mine in Australia is one of the largest in the world, having produced 3,144 tonnes of uranium for BHP’s 2015 fiscal year. However, times are tough for the world’s biggest miner, having announced a net loss of $6.4 billion for 2015-2016. The loss is reportedly the company’s worst ever full-year result, in part due to weak commodity prices.

In July 2016, BHP announced the reaffirmation of an underground expansion pathway for the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine.

4. Uranium One (TSX:UUU)

2015 uranium production: 6,250 tonnes

Uranium One holds the Willow Creek ISR mine in Wyoming, which includes the licensed and permitted Irigaray ISR central processing plant, the Christensen Ranch satellite ISR facility and associated uranium ore bodies. Commercial production at Willow Creek began in 2012 and its current design capacity is 1.3 million pounds of U3O8 per year.

Total attributable production of uranium by Uranium One in 2015 was 6,250 tonnes, which is an increase from its 5,200 attributable production in 2014.

5. Paladin Energy (TSX:PDN)

2015 uranium production: 2,457 tonnes

Paladin Energy is a uranium production company with projects currently in Australia and two mines in Africa. Its Langer Heinrich mine, located in Namibia, is another massive uranium producer, and its accounting production totaled roughly 2,457 tonnes in 2015.

Ur-Energy also owns the rights to two other uranium projects in Wyoming: Lost Soldier and Lucky Mc.

6. Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO)

2015 uranium production: 1,057 tonnes

Rio Tinto’s 68.58-percent-owned Rössing mine in Namibia is the world’s longest-running open-pit uranium mine. It began operating in 1976 and has produced the most uranium of any single mine to date.

7. Ur-Energy (NYSE:URG)

2015 uranium production: 391.77 tonnes

Ur-Energy operates the Lost Creek in-situ recovery uranium facility, which is located in Wyoming. The facility has a two million pounds per year of physical design capacity. In 2015, the company captured 391.778 tonnes of uranium. Despite tough market conditions, the company continued its focus on moving production into sales at the Lost Creek mine.

8. Energy Fuels (TSX:EFR; NYSE:UUUU)

2015 uranium production: 234 tonnes

Energy Fuels is the second-largest supplier of uranium in the US and the owner of the White Mesa mill, the only fully licensed and operating conventional uranium mill located in the US. The company has various uranium properties in the US, including the Roca Honda project in New Mexico, Sheep Mountain, Uranerz, Nichols Ranch ISR mine and plant in Wyoming, the Wate project, and the Canyon Mine in Arizona, and Henry Mountains, La Sal and Daneros, all located in Utah.

On June 17, 2016, Energy Fuels announced the completed acquisition of Mesteña Uranium, adding the third US production centre to its portfolio. In September, the company announced its operational update and production guidance for 2017, with a goal to become the largest uranium producer in the United States.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Energy Fuels is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content. 


This article is updated each year. Please scroll to the top for most recent information.

2014 Top Uranium-producing Companies in the World

By Kristen Moran

Although the low uranium price has made it difficult for some companies to stay afloat, there are uranium producers around the world that are managing to keep their costs low enough to survive until the anticipated supply deficit hits the space.

While sizable uranium deposits are located worldwide, many countries only allow state-owned companies the rights to mine; that means there are fewer publicly traded producers in countries like Kazakhstan and Russia, both of which are high on the list of top uranium-producing countries. There are nevertheless numerous publicly traded uranium-producing companies that investors may want to be aware of. Here’s a brief overview.

Current producers

These companies are currently producing large amounts of uranium.

1. Cameco

2014 uranium production: 10,568 tonnes

Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ) has producing uranium mines in both Canada and the US. In the US, there is the Smith Ranch-Highland mine in Wyoming’s Powder River basin and the Crow Butte mine in Nebraska. Up north, the company has 69.8-percent ownership of the world’s largest uranium mine, McArthur River, and a 50-percent stake in the world’s second-largest high-grade uranium deposit, Cigar Lake, located in the Athabasca Basin.

To date, McArthur River has yielded 269.7 million pounds of uranium, and accounts for 13 percent of the world’s total output. It also holds over 1 million tonnes of proven plus probable reserves. In 2014, annual production at Smith Ranch-Highland, which is the largest US producer, came to 2.1 million pounds of U3O8; during the same period, Crow Butte produced 600,000 pounds of U3O8.

Cameco also holds a 60-percent interest in the Inkai ISR mine in Kazakhstan, with the remaining 40 percent owned by Kazatomprom. Cameco’s share includes 45.6 million pounds of proven and probable reserves, and the mine generated 3 percent of last year’s uranium output.

2. AREVA

2014 uranium production: 8,959 tonnes

France’s AREVA (EPA:AREVA) holds stakes in various uranium properties around the world and continues to make deals with other large companies like China National Nuclear (CNNC). The company’s subsidiary, AREVA Resources Canada, owns 30.2 percent of world’s largest uranium mine, McArthur River. AREVA also owns a 51-percent stake in the world’s second-largest mines, Tortkuduk and Myunkum in Kazakhstan. The mines are operated through a joint venture between AREVA and Kazatomprom, a partnership that is known as KATCO and was formed in 1996.

What’s more, the SOMAIR mines, a collection of open-pit mining operations located in Niger, are majority owned and operated by AREVA. The mines equated to 5 percent of the world’s output in 2014, producing 2,331 tonnes of uranium.

3. BHP Billiton

2014 uranium production: 3,351 tonnes

BHP’s (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) Olympic Dam uranium mine in Australia is one of the largest in the world — it produced 3,351 tonnes of uranium in 2014 and accounted for 6 percent of the world’s total output.

However, the low uranium price has taken a toll on BHP. In August, the company announced plans to cut 380 jobs at its Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine in Australia due in part to global market conditions. Prior to that, the Svedala mill, which is part of Olympic Dam, experienced an electrical failure, leading to a drop in output. A return to full production is anticipated by the end of the September 2015 quarter.

4. Uranium One

2014 uranium production: 4,717 tonnes

Uranium One (TSX:UUU) holds the Willow Creek ISR mine in Wyoming, which includes the licensed and permitted Irigaray ISR central processing plant, the Christensen Ranch satellite ISR facility and associated uranium ore bodies. Commercial production at Willow Creek began in 2012 and its current design capacity is 1.3 million pounds of U3O8 per year.

Uranium One also holds a 50-percent interest in Budenovskoye 2, a mine in Kazakhstan that produced 2,084 tonnes in 2014, the equivalent to 4 percent of the world’s uranium.

5. Paladin Energy

2014 uranium production: 3,602 tonnes

Paladin Energy’s (TSX:PDN,ASX:PDN) Langer Heinrich mine, located in Namibia, is another massive uranium producer. With output of 1,947 tonnes in 2014, the mine accounted for 4 percent of the world’s uranium output. In July 2014, CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding, a wholly owned subsidiary of CNNC, bought a 25-percent stake in the mine.

Ur-Energy also owns the rights to two other uranium projects in Wyoming: Lost Soldier and Lucky Mc.

6. Rio Tinto

2014 uranium production: 1,308 tonnes

Rio Tinto’s (NYSE:RIO,ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO) 68.58-percent-owned Rössing mine in Namibia is the world’s longest-running open-pit uranium mine. It began operating in 1976 and has produced the most uranium of any single mine to date.

7. Energy Fuels

2014 uranium production: 453 tonnes

Energy Fuels (TSX:EFR,NYSEMKT:UUUU) is the second-largest supplier of uranium in the US and the owner of the White Mesa mill, the only fully licensed and operating conventional uranium mill located in the US. The company has various uranium properties in the US, including the Roca Honda project in New Mexico, Sheep Mountain in Wyoming, the Wate project in Arizona and Henry Mountains, La Sal and Daneros, all located in Utah.

Energy Fuels acquired Uranerz and all its assets in June, including the Nichols Ranch ISR mine and plant in Wyoming. The company increased output at Nichols Ranch in July, boosting total uranium production there by 25 percent after commencing production at the fifth header house at the facility.

8. Ur-Energy

2014 uranium production: 270 tonnes

Ur-Energy (TSX:URE,NYSEMKT:URG) has two US uranium projects located in Wyoming: Lost Creek and Shirley Basin. In May, the company announced an increased mineral resource estimate for Lost Creek, adding 2.308 million pounds of uranium averaging 0.058 percent U3O8 — that represents a 95-percent increase. Lost Creek, which has been producing since 2013, also hit a major milestone recently when it shipped out its millionth pound of uranium in the second quarter.

9. Denison Mines 

2014 uranium production: 11 tonnes (McClean Lake)

Denison Mines (TSX:DML) is an exploration, development and uranium production company that has various projects located in Canada, Zambia, Namibia and Mongolia. In 2014, the company’s portion of production at the McClean Lake joint venture totaled 11 tonnes. Denison made a lot of progress at its projects in 2014, discovering a new high-grade area at the Wheeler River property, expanding its Phoenix deposit and acquiring 30 percent interest in the Mann Lake exploration property.

More recently, the company announced its plans to merge with Fission Uranium (TSX:FCU), which will create a new uranium company called Denison Energy and will consolidate Denison’s projects in the US Midwest and Fission’s Patterson Lake South (PLS) project in the Athabasca Basin. While shareholders have yet to approve the merger, both companies, as well as independent proxy advisory firms, have recommended shareholders vote in favor at the upcoming special meetings on October 14.

Waiting in the wings

While not currently producing, these companies have projects that could come online in the near future.

1. Peninsula Energy

2014 uranium production: 0 tonnes

Although Peninsula Energy (ASX:PEN) is not yet producing, the Australia-based company’s Lance projects in Wyoming are expected to begin operating in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Peninsula currently has two sales contracts set up, both of which were made for prices higher than the current uranium spot price. The first deal was made back in 2011 with one of the largest producers of energy in the US and is a long-term agreement to supply 1,150,000 pounds over a period of seven years. The second was made this past December, again with a large US utility company, for up to 912,500 pounds to be delivered from 2016 to 2024. The Lance projects have a current resource of 53.7 million pounds of U3O8 with the potential for more.

2. Uranium Resources

2014 uranium production: 0 tonnes

Uranium Resources (NASDAQ:URRE) controls about 212,000 acres of uranium mineral holdings in Texas and New Mexico. In Texas, there are the Kingsville Dome and Rosita projects; the two projects have combined reserves over 600,000 pounds within 400,000 tonnes at an average grade of approximately 0.08 percent. The company had a third mine called Vasquez, which produced 590,200 pounds of uranium from 2004 to 2008. The company’s two processing facilities at the Kingsville Dome and Rosita projects are on standby for a restart of production when there is a sustained improvement in the uranium market.

In June, Uranium Resources announced that it will be merging with Anatolia Energy (ASX:AEK) to expand its portfolio in Texas.

Did we miss a uranium-producing company worth noting? Let us know in the comments.

Securities Disclosure: I, Kristen Moran, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Comments
  • One of the more strategic companies moving forward is Western Uranium Corp WUC:CN as it holds the license permit for a mill in southwestern Colorado near Naturita in the Uravan Mineral Belt. The CEO and founder through purchases and acquisitions is George Glasier living Nucla, CO. The company is now developing an ablation system to gather high grade Uranium without the waste material to separate which is costly for mining. The mill is scheduled to be build in 2016.

    Reply
    • Kristen

      Thank you for the information, I was initially focusing on producers, but I can’t see why Western Uranium couldn’t be added to the ‘Waiting in the wings’ section. Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply
  • sorry for the misspelled words and words left out. I didn’t proof as I am in a rush.

    Reply
  • Good review of Publicly traded companies. And, you do qualify near the top that this will be about Public Co’s. However, in my opinion it would have been a perfect article if you had added in whatever little bit of open information there is out there into the ranking listings of what Kazakhstan, Russia, Angola produce etc. My congrats for some great research and summation. A very useful reference. TSD

    Reply
    • Kristen

      Thank you so much for the feedback Thomas, I am so happy that you liked the article.

      Reply
    • Kristen

      I completely agree that UEC fits right in to the ‘Waiting in the wings’ section. I was initially focusing on producers, but I will add them to the article shortly. Thanks for the feedback and information!

      Reply
  • Another one which is on the AIm market of the london stock exchange is Berkeley Energia epic code BKY they have just started the construction phase of the mine and it goes into production in 2018

    Reply
  • Where would you rank Anfield Resources Inc. Com (ARY/CDNX) They are a small cap with mines in Colorado. They also have a Mill to process Yellow Cake. Do you believe a small company like this has a chance in this growing market? I would appreciate your comment please.

    Reply

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