Uranium is a natural element with an average concentration of 2.8 parts per million on the Earth’s crust. It is more abundant than gold, silver or mercury, approximately the same as tin as and slightly less abundant than cobalt or lead.
More than half of the world's uranium production comes from Australia, Canada, or Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is, by far, the largest producer of uranium, approximately about 40 percent of global production. It should not be surprising, then, that five of the ten biggest uranium mines are located in the Central Asian country.
Olympic Dam mine, Australia: Olympic Dam mine is a large poly-metallic underground mine located in South Australia. It is the second largest uranium-producing mine in the world. Appx 70% of the mine's revenue comes from copper, 25% from uranium, and the remainder from silver and gold. The Olympic Dam mine uses 35 million litres of Great Artesian Basin water each day, making it the largest industrial user of underground water in the southern hemisphere.
McArthur River Uranium Mine: McArthur River Uranium Mine in Canada, is the world's largest high-grade uranium deposit. Production at McArthur River began in 1999 and the mine has an average ore grade of nearly 11% triuranium octoxide over 100 times the world average.
Arlit Uranium. Mine, Niger: Arlit mine is a large mine located near Arlit, in the northern part of Niger. Uranium is extracted from the sedimentary deposit at depths of 50 to 70 meters and heap leached on site, at the open-pit mine.
Ranger Uranium Mine: Ranger Uranium Mine is a mine in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is operated by Energy Resources of Australia, a 68% subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group. Uranium mined at Ranger is sold for use in nuclear power stations in Asia, Europe and North America. Ranger Uranium Mine is the open-pit mine produced 3216tU, approximately 6% of the world total.
Langer Heinrich mine: Langer Heinrich mine is a large open pit mine located in the western part of Namibia Desert. Uranium is found within carnotite, an oxide that contains uranium and vanadium. The mine produces up to 1,180t of uranium oxide concentrate from 1.5Mt of calcrete-hosted ores per year.
Krasnokamensk Uranium Mine, Russia: The Priargunsky mine is a large open pit mine located near the town of Krasnokamensk in the southern part of Russia. Priargunsky mine, delivered 3 percent of the world’s total uranium output.
South Inkai Uranium Mine, Kazakhstan: South Inkai mine is a large in-situ leaching mine located in the southern part of Kazakhstan. It is one of the largest uranium reserves in Kazakhstan having estimated reserves of 135.4 million tonnes of ore grading 0.026% uranium.
Budenovskoye 2 Uranium Mine, Kazakhstan: Budenovskoye 2 Uranium Mine, Kazakhstan having estimated reserves of 40.7 million tonnes of ore grading 0.022% uranium
Rossing Uranium Mine: Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia is the longest-running and one of the largest open pit uranium mines in the world. Mine produced 3,711 tonnes of uranium oxide, becoming the fifth-largest uranium mine with 8 per cent of global output.