USA boosts uranium and non-fuel minerals output

Recent data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) document a substantial increase in uranium production for 2006. EIA’s 2007 first quarter Domestic Uranium Production Report, released May 7, recorded a 53% jump in uranium production in 2006 compared with the 2005 production level.

According to the report, US uranium concentrate production totalled 4.1 Mlb in 2006, marking the highest production level recorded since 1999. For 2007, the report found that uranium concentrate production stood at 1,162,737 lb in the first quarter, an increase of 25% compared with first quarter 2006 production. The report noted that one uranium producing mill and five in-situ leach plants were operational in the US at the end of March 2007, the same as at the end of 2006.

Separately, late in April, the US Geological Survey (USGS) released its 2005 MINING AND QUARRYING TRENDS minerals yearbook. The report notes that total domestic mining and waste removal for non-fuel mineral materials production amounted to 6,000 Mt in 2005, representing a 2% rise from 2004. According to the report, 62% of non-fuel mineral materials mined in 2005 was used to produce industrial minerals, while the remaining 38% was used for the production of minerals.

The top 10 states in which mining for non-fuel minerals took place, in order of total materials handled, were Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, California, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Taken together these states accounted for 60% of all non-fuel mineral production. According to the report, four of the top 10 largest mineral mines and quarries were located in Nevada, with Barrick Gold’s Betze-Post Nevada mine topping the list.