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March 10, 2010

World Uranium Production in 2009

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Technology Review is one of several places that excerpted the incorrect writings of Michael Dittmar that there would be uranium shortage and a failure to increase uranium mining

Recent news on uranium production for 2009, is pretty clearly showing that I will win the uranium production bet with Dittmar for 2009.

Figures gathered by the World Nuclear Association put Canada's uranium production in the last year at 11,997 tonnes of uranium oxide (tU3O8).

This level, last seen from Canada in 2005, represents about 22% of world production and places Canada second to Kazakhstan's 16,400 tU3O8 production, but ahead of Australia's 9413 tonnes.

At McArthur River, a change in the licence allowed greater output, and 8654 tU3O8 was produced. At McClean Lake production recovered to 1637 tonnes, and at Rabbit Lake 1706 tonnes was produced.

However, the McClean Lake mill is due to close in mid 2010 and go on to care and maintenance until about a year before it starts to receive ore from the forthcoming Cigar Lake mine, now expected the start operation in mid 2013. Areva has applied to divert its proportion of McArthur River ore to McClean Lake in that year, so as to commission the upgraded mill with high-grade ore.



My forecast and the bet is recorded at the oildrum.

Bet for 2009 at 47,383 tons as over under (the actual midpoint)
Uranium production is coming in at just over 50,000 tons for 2009.

Cigar Lake is going to come online, Khazakstan production is still going up. African production is going up.
Dittmar's uranium production predictions and limitations on nuclear energy because of uranium shortages is failing completely.


Dittmar said that Canada's uranium production was/is in steep decline - Dittmar is being shown to be wrong as production is going back up.

Dittmar said a maximum primary Uranium production for 2009 44,000 tons -
wrong by 15% in the same year of the prediction.

The heart of Dittmar's thesis is that Uranium supply problems will restrict nuclear energy generation. Uranium production is not constricting as predicted. a 50,000 ton level is something Dittmar said could not happen until 2016 or so.

All of Dittmar's 2010-2018 predictions on world primary uranium production will get more and more wrong.

The nuclear generation numbers are going get past the level of in the noise fluctuations in 2010 with new reactors coming online and Japan sorting out some operational issues, france fixing some labor and other issues and India getting fuel supply.

Uranium is 84.79% of the WNA U308 numbers.

Kazak 13,900
Canada 10,172
Australia 7,980
namibia 5429

Total 37481


I had projected 2009 uranium production

Kazak 12713
canada 10800
Australia 8527
namibia 4400

Total 36440

Niger, Uzbekhstan, USA, Russia also all came in on target

Total uranium production for Namibia rose to 5,429 tonnes in 2009, a six percent increase compared to 2008.


ARMZ is the primary supplier of uranium feedstock to the Russian nuclear industry, having produced 4,624 tons of uranium in Russia and Kazakhstan in 2009

Dittmar is going to win the first bet we have on world nuclear generation for 2009 because of bad performance (that shaved 2% off of world nuclear generation) from France and USA and because of the overall bad financial/economic climate meaning that utilities did not push as hard because of lower demand.

2010 and onwards my predictions are going to right and the divergence is going to get huge. The new reactors are going to startup and Japan and France are getting there operations back in order.

It will not be 2% in the noise level of differences. It will head to double digits and head up to 50+% differences.

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