Will we run out of uranium?

The world has lots of uranium left. Specifically, Canada has lots of uranium left and will for a long time yet.

At current rates of production, Canada still has a century’s worth of uranium in deposits that have been mapped out. New deposits of Uranium continue to be found in Canada; there is abundant uranium for more than a century at least! Canada’s mines provide 13% of the world’s uranium supply, making it the second-largest producer in the world. [1] Canada started mining uranium in the 1930s and has produced half a million tonnes of uranium, making Canada number one in the world for total uranium produced. This 500,000 tonnes is a lot of uranium taken out of the ground, but by way of comparison, Canada digs up 500,000 tonnes of coal (and burns it) every 5 days! [2]

Another aspect of Canadian uranium that sets it apart from the rest of the world is its high grade. The uranium ore deposits in Northern Saskatchewan (shown in the figure) have roughly 10x the concentration of uranium as ores mined in other countries. This means that a cubic metre of ore has 10x more uranium, which means less waste rock to make the same amount of electricity. Higher concentration makes producing Canadian uranium cheaper than uranium production in most other countries.

While Canada has significant uranium resources in the ground, researchers are always looking to see what’s next. Laboratories have used polymers in innovative ways to harvest uranium from seawater. If this new process becomes commercially viable this would make the supply of uranium virtually limitless.

Some Canadian companies are looking at getting ways of reusing nuclear fuel to get 50-100x as much electricity out of the uranium that we already have. If this technology works, known uranium deposits in Canada will be able to provide more energy than all of our coal, oil and natural gas deposits combined!

Location of uranium mines and mills in Saskatchewan [3]
Location of uranium mines and mills in Saskatchewan [3]


  1. https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/canada-uranium.aspx
  2. https://www.worldometers.info/coal/canada-coal/
  3. https://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/resources/publications/reports/regulatory-oversight-reports/umm-report-2018.cfm Figure 2.1