Where to Find

Key facts

  • Canada is the second largest producer and exporter of uranium in the world, with 22% of global production in 2017.
  • Nuclear power generation accounted for 15% of Canada’s electricity in 2016. Nuclear power is a source of energy that does not emit greenhouse gases.
  • In 2017, 88% of Canada’s uranium production was exported for use in nuclear power throughout the world.
  • Canada has developed a unique nuclear reactor technology, CANDU; there are 18 CANDU reactors in Ontario, 1 in New Brunswick and 12 in operation outside of Canada.
  • Under Canada’s nuclear non-proliferation policy, Canadian uranium can be used only for peaceful purposes.

International context

Uranium

Find out how Canada’s uranium ranks on an international scale:

World production–59.5 kilotonnes, 2017 (p)

Rank Country Percentage of Total
1 Kazakhstan 39%
2 Canada 22%
3 Australia 10%
4 Namibia 7%
5 Niger 6%

World exports–54.1 kilotonnes, 2017 (p)

Rank Country Percentage of Total
1 Kazakhstan 43%
2 Canada 21%
3 Australia 11%
4 Niger 8%
5 Russia 5%

World known recoverable resources–5.7 million tonnes (beginning of 2015)

Rank Country Percentage of Total
1 Australia 29%
2 Kazakhstan 13%
3 Canada 9%
4 Russia 9%
5 South Africa 6%

Uranium production and uses

Uranium is primarily used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants (more than 99% of total use). Other uses of uranium (less than 1%) include the production of medical isotopes and fuel for research reactors.

Canadian production of uranium was 13.1 kilotonnes in 2017. All uranium comes from mines in Saskatchewan and has an annual value of approximately $1.6 billion.

Key facts

  • The high-grade McArthur River mine and the Key Lake mill, the world’s largest uranium production facilities in terms of annual production, produced 6,928 tonnes of uranium in 2016.
  • An additional 17 tonnes of uranium were produced at the Key Lake mill during 2016 by recycling uranium refinery wastes.
  • In 2016, output at the high-grade Cigar Lake mine and the McClean Lake mill increased substantially to 6,666 tonnes of uranium, making them the world’s second largest uranium production facilities in terms of annual production.
  • The Cigar Lake mine is expected to be in full production by the end of 2017 with an annual output of 6,900 tonnes of uranium.
  • In mid-2016, production at the Rabbit Lake mine and mill, with an annual output of 428 tonnes of uranium, was suspended due to low prices.

Source: Natural Resources Canada
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