Canada's uranium industry —the next decade

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 875, 1985


Uranium is a unique commodity. It is both a metal and a fuel. It has both commercial and military uses. It yields "clean energy" but presents environmental concerns. All of these factors have an impact on the commerce of uranium. Being a metal, uranium is extracted from ore like many other metallic minerals. As a fuel, it is subject to the vagaries of energy commodity market forces. The history of uranium in the first nuclear weapons has led to national governments carefully controlling production and sale of uranium. The spectre of radioactive contamination of the environment adds further to the public concern over the disposal of low-level radioactive wastes from uranium processing and use. There have been a number of excellent reviews on the commercial aspects of the uranium industry. In this discussion, these aspects will be briefly summarized to provide a general picture of the strengths of the Canadian uranium industry and the pressures to which it is being subjected currently. The principal thrust of this paper will be to outline Canada's resource strength and to identify some factors which will affect Canada's ability to continue holding a sizeable share of the world uranium market.
Mots Clés: Uranium, Mineral processing, Nuclear energy, Leaching, Production, Tailings management, Crushing, Grinding, Solid-liquid separation, Solution purification.