Uranium

map of canada

The country is poised to be a major force in the uranium sector for years to come.

Uranium mining in Canada accounts for 13 percent of global output, making the Great White North the second largest producer of uranium in the world, behind only Kazakhstan.

Canada hosts 9 percent of the world’s uranium resources, and is home to the biggest deposits of high-grade uranium. Their grades of up to 20 percent uranium are 100 times greater than the global average.

Canada’s uranium deposits are found mainly in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Labrador and Quebec, as well as the territory of Nunavut. Of these, Saskatchewan leads the country in uranium exploration and production.


Uranium mining in Canada: The country's major miners

The majority of Saskatchewan's mining activity occurs in the uranium-dense Athabasca Basin, a mining-friendly region in the north of the province that's renowned for its high-quality uranium deposits. The area's long uranium-mining history has made Canada an international leader in the uranium sector.

The country’s two largest uranium mines, Cigar Lake and McArthur River, are both located in Saskatchewan. While Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ) is the majority owner and operator of both mines, Canada’s other major uranium producer, Orano Canada, a subsidiary of the multinational company Orano Group, also holds a significant stake. Orano also owns and runs the McClean Lake operation in Saskatchewan.

Other major deposits are Matoush in Quebec, Kiggavik in Nunavut and Michelin and Jacques Lake in Labrador.

Uranium mining in Canada: An exploration hotspot

Canada is also home to a slew of uranium exploration and development companies, many of which are focused on the Athabasca Basin. These include:

  • Azincourt Energy (TSXV:AAZ,OTCQB:AZURF), which is working on its East Preston project.
  • Baselode Energy (TSXV:FIND,OTCQB:BSENF), which is focused on basement-hosted deposits, and its Shadow and Hook projects.
  • Fission Uranium (TSX:FCU,OTCQX:FCUUF), which is exploring the Patterson Lake South property.
  • UEX (TSX:UEX,OTCQB:UEXCF), which holds a portfolio of projects in the Athabasca Basin.
  • IsoEnergy (TSXV:ISO,OTCQX:ISENF), which has a portfolio of uranium projects in the Eastern Athabasca Basin, including the Larocque East property.
  • NexGen Energy (TSX:NXE,NYSEAMERICAN:NXE), which holds a portfolio of projects in the Athabasca Basin, including the Arrow deposit, the Bow and Harpoon discoveries and Arrow South.
  • Denison Mines (TSX:DML,NYSEAMERICAN:DNN), which holds a 90 percent interest in the Wheeler River uranium project, the largest undeveloped uranium project in the Athabasca Basin. The company’s interests also include a 22.5 percent stake in the McClean Lake operation.

This is only a small selection of the companies exploring for uranium in Canada's Athabasca Basin. If we missed one you think should be included, please let us know in the comments!

Uranium mining in Canada: Nuclear power

The nuclear power industry in Canada is regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The CNSC regulates uranium mines and mills, as well as all the stages of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Nuclear power supplies 15 percent of Canada’s energy needs. Refining and fuel fabrication takes place in Saskatchewan and Ontario. The country’s nuclear power industry is comprised of 18 CANDU reactors in Ontario and one in New Brunswick. These reactors consume about 25 percent of Canada’s domestic uranium production.

The other three-quarters of Canada’s uranium is sent to global nuclear power markets. In 2019, the country was the fourth biggest uranium exporter, shipping uranium ore for nuclear fuel to the US, Europe and Asia.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2017.

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

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

Editorial Disclosure: Azincourt Energy, Baselode Energy, IsoEnergy and Fission Uranium are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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