Over two-thirds of the world's production of uranium from mines is from Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia. Another 12 countries contribute the rest. Mine production now meets 90% of demand for power generation.
In the last 60 years uranium has become one of the world's most important energy minerals. It is used almost entirely for making electricity, though a small proportion is used for the important task of producing medical isotopes.
Most uranium mining in the USA and Kazakhstan is now by in situ leach methods. In the USA, ISL is seen as the most cost effective and environmentally acceptable method of mining, and Australian experience supports this.
In most respects the environmental aspects of a uranium mine are the same as those of other metalliferous mining. Most uranium mines in Australia and Canada have ISO 14001 certification. The uranium itself has a very low level of radioactivity, comparable with granite.