University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Ecology and Natural Resources Collection

Page View

Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Woodmansee, Walter C.
Uranium,   pp. 1261-1285 ff. PDF (2.8 MB)


Page 1261

  1261Uranium 
By Walter C. Woodmansee' 
 The domestic uranium industry, from mining and milling through the nuclear
fuel cycle to fuels reprocessing and waste management, made further progress
toward establishing facilities adequate for an accelerating future demand.
Exploration for uranium in the Western States was at a rate similar to that
of 1971, but emphasis was on deeper drilling. Discoveries of significant
new ore deposits were announced. There was little change in ore reserves,
as determined by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which placed increased
emphasis on potential resources and on higher cost ores. Output of U3O8 concentrate
increased; 20 mills, three of which started production during the year, were
in operation. Two mills were closed and placed on a standby basis. Other
sectors of the nuclear fuels industry continued development plans, which,
however, were slowed 
by a soft market and environmental opposition. The AEC announced a new program
of sharing enrichment technology with selected domestic companies and foreign
nations. 
 Despite plans for an expanding domestic nuclear industry, the current market
was one of continuing oversupply, excessive stocks, and soft prices. The
AEC announced a new policy whereby it would not sell its U3O8 stockpile in
the domestic or foreign market but would use it in preproducing enriched
uranium for future sales, thereby avoiding direct competition with U308 producers
in the domes—tic market. Although a uranium surplus prevailed, this
situation was considered temporary; it was anticipated that low-cost U3O8
reserves and forward supply were not improving at 
 1 Physical scientist, Division of Nonferrous Metals, Associate Directorate—Mineral
Supply. 
Table 1.—Salient uranium concentrate (U308) statistics 
(Short tons Us08 unless otherwise specified) 
1968 
1969 
1970 
1971 
1972 
Production: 
Domestic: 
Mine: 1 
 Ore thousand tons~ 6,448 Content of ore  12,570 
 Average grade of ore~percent UsOs 0.195 Recoverable'2 12,070 
 Value'3 thousands~ $182,698 
 Mill,concentrate~ 12,368 
 World's 23,005 
Deliveries of concentrate: 
5,904 
12,281 
0.208 
11,870 
$142,161 
11,609 
23,083 
6,324 
12,768 
 0.202 
 12,190 
' $147,569 12,905 
 24,161 
6,279 
12,907 
0.205 
12,260 
$151,996 
12,273 
23,921 
6,418 
13,667 
0.213 
12,880 
$162,272 
12,900 
27,277 
 Atomic Energy Commission: 
 Quantity  7,337 Value thousands $117,026 
 Price per pound $8.00 
 Privateindustry' 5,000 
Imports, concentrate  470Reserves' thousand tons 161 
6,184 
$72,336 
$5.85 
6,200 
1,504 
 204 
2,520 
$28,078 
$5.59 
9,300 
 665 
 246 
12,800 
 942 
 273 
- 
-- 
11,600 
2,284 
 273 
Employment7 numberofpersons~ 8,355 
9,059 
8,165 
7,373 
6,403 
 Estimate. r Revised. 
 I Receipts at mills; excludes uranium from leaching operations, mine waters,
and refinery residues. 
 2 Based on mill recovery factors. 
 8 Based on estimated recoverable content, average AEC price, and estimated
average price for private sales for 1968—70; private sales only in
1971—72. 
 Includes marketable concentrate from leaching operations. 
 5Non-Communlst only. 
 At $8 per pound U3O,. 
 7 exploration, mining, and milling, at yearend. 
Sources: U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and Federal Bureau of Mines. 


Go up to Top of Page