Uranium is one of the elements present in the Earth and is seen in the periodical table of elements denoted in its symbol “U”. Uranium is found in deposits in the rock in the Earth and uranium mining is the process in which this uranium is being extracted from under the ground. The uranium that is being extracted through uranium mining comes in the form of uranium ore as it is still in a mix with other minerals from the rock. The uranium that is being extracted is mostly used as fuel inside nuclear power plants in order to generate power.
Back in the year 2015, the amount of uranium mined around the world reach a total of sixty thousand, four hundred ninety- six tons. The top three produces of uranium are the countries of Canada, Kazakhstan, and Australia and their combined amount of uranium mined accounts for around seventy percent of the total uranium mined every year. Countries that mind more than one thousand tons of uranium every year include the US, China, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Niger, and Namibia.
The raw uranium ore after it is mined from underground is processed. The materials in the ore are ground down so that the particle size of the materials will be uniform. After the materials have been ground down, it will be treated using the process of chemical leaching in order to extract the uranium from the ore separating it from the other minerals. This process will result in a dry powder which is the natural market. This product from uranium mining and processing is known as yellowcake. This is being sold in the market and it is also known in its chemical name, U3O8.
Uranium minerals were actually discovered by miners even before the element itself was discovered in the year 1798. Records as early as 1565 report about the uranium mineral which miners called uraninite. Other records dated in 1727 and 1763 also talk about the minerals. During the mining in Bohemia, Saxony, and Cornwall during the early 19th century, the uranium ore was gotten by the miners as a byproduct of their mining works. The first time which uranium was really deliberately mined was in the Czech Republic and chemist Marie Curie used the radioactive ore in here experiments.
Before the Second World War, all uranium mining operations were done to explore the radium content of the uranium. The radium which was found in the uranium ore was desired because it was used in the creation of luminous paint which is painted on the dials of watches as well as on instruments. The first discovery of uranium in the US was in the gold mines in Colorado and between the tears 1871 and 1895 that area had products around fifty tons of high-grade uranium ore.
After the Second World War, there was a surge in the demand for uranium and uranium mining became more popular than ever. Uranium became quite in demand in the military for weapons as well as in the energy industry.