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32. 1997 Economic Census

1186. Uranium Concentrate (U3O8) Industry--Summary

[See also table 968. Based on a survey of known producers; for methodology, see below table]

Item Unit 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Exploration and development, surface drilling............................. Mil. ft. 1.7 1.8 1.1 1.1 0.7 1.3 3.0 4.9 4.6 2.5
  Expenditures.......................................................... Mil. dol. 17.1 17.8 14.5 11.3 3.7 6.0 10.1 30.4 21.7 9.0
Number of mines operated Number 39 15 17 12 12 12 13 14 15 14
  Underground Number 27 6 4 0 0 0 1 1 4 3
  Openpit Number 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  In situ leaching Number 7 6 4 5 5 5 6 7 6 6
  Other sources Number 3 1 8 7 7 7 6 6 5 5
Mine production 1,000 pounds 1 5,876 5,182 986 2,050 2,526 3,528 4,705 4,710 4,782 4,548
  Underground 1,000 pounds 1 (D) (D) (D) 0 0 0 (D) (D) (D) (D)
  Openpit 1,000 pounds 1 1,881 2,528 (D) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  In situ leaching 1,000 pounds 1 (D) (D) (D) (D) 2,448 3,372 4,379 4,084 3,721 3,830
  Other sources 1,000 pounds 1 3,995 2,654 986 2,050 78 156 326 626 1,062 718
Uranium concentrate production 1,000 pounds 1 8,886 7,952 5,645 3,063 3,352 6,043 6,321 5,643 4,705 4,611
Concentrate shipments from
mills and plants 1,000 pounds 1 12,957 8,437 6,853 3,374 6,319 5,500 5,982 5,817 4,863 5,527
Employment Person-years 1,335 1,016 682 871 980 1,107 1,118 1,097 1,120 848

NA Not available. 1 Includes natural U>></a>3O>></a>8 (uranium oxide), natural UF6
nn1 U>></a>3O>></a>8.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Uranium Industry, annual.

* Definitions

Enriched uranium:

Uranium in which the 235U isotope concentration has been increased to greater than the 0.711 percent 235U (by weight) present in natural uranium. Low-enriched uranium (LEU) contains up to 19 percent U-235, whereas highly enriched uranium (HEU) contains at least 20 percent U-235 and over 90 percent if used for nuclear weapons.

Long-term contract:

One or more deliveries to occur after a period of at least 6 years following contract execution.

Spot-market price:

A transaction price concluded "on the spot," that is, on a one-time, prompt basis. The transaction usually involves only one specific quantity of product. This contrasts with a term-contract sale price, which obligates the seller to deliver a product at an agreed frequency and price over an extended period.


A heavy, naturally radioactive, metallic element (atomic number 92). Its two principally occurring isotopes are 235U and 238U. The isotope 235U is indispensable to the nuclearindustry because it is the only isotope existing in nature to any appreciable extent that is fissionable by thermal neutrons. The isotope 238U is also important because it absorbs neutrons to produce a radioactive isotope that subsequently decays to the isotope 239Pu, which also is fissionable by thermal neutrons.

Uranium concentrate:

A yellow or brown powder produced from naturally occurring uranium minerals as a result of milling uranium ore or processing uranium-bearing solutions. Synonymous with yellowcake, U3O8, or uranium oxide. Uranium hexafluoride (UF6):

A white solid obtained by chemical treatment of U3O8 and which forms a vapor at temperatures above 56 degrees Centigrade. UF6 is the form of uranium required for the enrichment process.

Uranium ore:

Rock containing uranium mineralization in concentrations that can be mined economically, (typically 1 to 4 pounds of U3O8 per ton or 0.05 to 0.20 percent U3O8).

Uranium oxide:

Uranium concentrate or yellowcake. Abbreviated as U3O8.

* Survey Methodology

Survey Design

The 15th comprehensive survey of the U.S. uranium industry was conducted in 1999 by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) using the "Uranium Industry Annual Survey," Form EIA-858. EIA collected data from all companies involved in the U.S. uranium industry, mailing the survey form to these firms in December 1998. The data reported in this publication were developed from the 1998 survey and predecessor databases.

EIA asked respondents to the "Uranium Industry Annual Survey" to provide data current to the end of the year shown about the following:

Uranium raw materials activities, including: land holdings, exploration and development activities, uranium-bearing properties and reserves, uranium mines, uranium processing facilities, and uranium industry employment in the raw materials sector

Uranium marketing activities, including contracts, contract prices and delivery schedules, uranium inventories, enrichment feed deliveries, unfilled market requirements, uranium used in fuel assemblies, and purchases of enrichment services.

The data collected on Form EIA-858 are subject to various sources of error. These sources are: (1) coverage (the list of respondents might not be complete or, on the other hand, there might be double counting); (2) non-response (all units that are surveyed might not respond or not provide all the information requested); (3) respondents (respondents might commit errors in reporting the data); (4) processing (the data collection agency might omit or incorrectly transcribe a submission); (5) concept (the data collection elements might not measure the items they were intended to measure); and (6) adjustments (errors might be made in estimating values for missing data). Because the "Uranium Industry Annual Survey" is not a sample survey, the estimates shown in this report are not subject to sampling error.1 Although it is not possible to present estimates of nonsampling error, precautionary steps were taken at each stage of the survey design to minimize the possible occurrence of these errors. The steps are described below, with the error they were designed to minimize shown in parenthesis.

Survey Universe and Frame (Coverage Errors)

The survey universe includes all companies involved in the U.S. uranium industry. The universe includes all firms meeting one or more of the following criteria: (1) are controllers or were controllers during any portion of 1997, or are identified in EIA records as the most recent controllers of uranium properties, mines, mills, or plant; (2) involved as controllers of uranium exploration and development ventures in the United States; (3) incurred uranium exploration expenditures in 1997 or plan such expenditures in 1998; (4) hold uranium reserves; (5) control uranium mining properties; (6) control commercial uranium extraction operations; and (7) purchase, sell, held, or own domestic- or foreign-origin uranium; offered uranium enrichment services; imported or exported uranium; and (utilities only) purchased uranium enrichment services from an enrichment supplier.

The respondent list used for the Form EIA-858 survey was developed from a frame of all establishments known to meet the selection criteria. The frame of potential respondents was compiled from previous surveys and from information in the public domain. The frame was intended to cover the following: all utilities owning nuclear-fueled generating stations; uranium converters, enrichers, and fuel fabricators; uranium traders and brokers; large and small companies actively engaged in exploration, development, or extraction in the U.S. uranium industry; and companies holding all large properties with uranium reserves. Companies meeting these criteria include: those involved in exploration, development, mining, milling, and trading of uranium; landowners; uranium converters, enrichers, and fabricators; and utilities with whole or partial ownership in operating or planned nuclear electric power plants.

Survey Procedures (Nonresponse)

The survey forms were sent via first class mail to ensure their receipt only by the proper respondent organization. If the U.S. Postal Service was unable to deliver the survey form, the corrected address was obtained where possible. In a few instances, businesses that had reported in earlier surveys were no longer operating. All known companies currently conducting business in the U.S. uranium industry were contacted during this survey.

Form EIA-858, "Uranium Industry Annual Survey," requests data about many areas of company operations. The scope of the questions is necessarily broad, and self-reporting of company-specific data is required.

Cooperation from industry on the 1997 survey was good. About 48 percent of respondents replied to the form within the specified deadline. Those that had not responded by the due date (March 1st for Schedules A and B) were telephoned to encourage submission of the forms, and those calls resulted in the submission of most of the remaining forms. Subsequently, telephone calls were made to obtain forms not yet submitted. In a few instances, company data were collected through telephone conversations.

Data Editing, Analysis, and Processing (Respondent and Processing Errors)

The survey forms are logged in and reviewed by agency personnel prior to data entry into the Uranium Industry Annual System, an automated database containing all current and historical data from each company's submissions. The database is maintained on the EIA computer facility in Washington, DC. After entry into the database, a copy of each part of the Form EIA-858 was distributed to the Analysis and Systems Division analyst responsible for that part. The submissions were checked for internal consistency, and the reported data were compared with previous collections of similar data. After reviewing these submissions, the analyst consulted with the reporting company, as needed, to resolve data problems and to confirm any corrections of the data.

Data areas that were reviewed and the corrections that were made differed from company to company. Most represented different interpretations of the data item definitions. No data in the database were changed without first consulting with the reporting company. Computer edits were also used to identify keypunch errors, out-of-range values, and unlikely data combinations. These also were either corrected to represent the data reported on the submissions or were changed only after confirming the corrected values by telephone conversations with company representatives. Data coding and entry errors were eliminated by proofing data after entry. All changes to reported data are documented.

Response Rates

For the 1997 Form EIA-858 survey, Schedule A,"Uranium Raw Materials Activities," was mailed to 46 firms and Schedule B, "Uranium Marketing Activities," was mailed to 87 firms. Response statistics are shown in Table A1. Overall, 100 percent of the firms responded to EIA with the data as requested for the survey sections as applicable to individual firms.

Missing Data

Some omissions of data were identified during the prescreening and editing of the data. Most omitted data elements fell into two categories: particular data were unknown or inadvertent omissions. EIA contacted respondents to obtain omitted data or to verify that they could not be reported. Only confirmed company-reported data are contained in the database and included in this report.

Data Revisions

The Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels, Energy Information Administration, has adopted the following policy for review and correction (revision) of data it collects and publishes. The policy covers revisions to prior published data. This new policy was initially implemented with the publication of the Uranium Industry Annual 1992.

1. Annual survey data are published either as preliminary or final when they first appear in a data report. Data released as preliminary will be identified as such. When necessary, preliminary data will be revised and declared to be final at the next publication of that data.

2. Monthly and quarterly survey data are published initially as preliminary data. They will be revised only after the completion of the data collection cycle for the full 12-month survey period. Revisions will not be made to monthly or quarterly data prior to this time.

3. The magnitude of historical data revisions experienced will be included in each data report to inform the reader about the accuracy of the data presented.

4. Revisions to data published as final will be made only in the event that newly available information would result in a change to published data of more than than 1 percent at the national level. Revisions for changes of lesser magnitudes will be made at the discretion of the Office Director.

All data, except for uranium inventory data and uranium fuel assembly data, are published as final. Data on uranium inventories and fuel assemblies for the survey year are published as preliminary because survey respondents are requested to make changes to their prior year data, if necessary, when reporting data for the current survey year.


These tables are based on figures supplied by the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject to revision by the Census Bureau.

Copyright © 2006 Photius Coutsoukis and Information Technology Associates, all rights reserved.