France is running 7.2% ahead of 2010 for the first two months.
Germany is running almost 11% ahead of 2010.
Sweden is 45% ahead of 2011.
Production in recent years has been hampered by wet weather at the Ranger mine in Australia’s Northern Territory and a shaft failure at Olympic Dam in South Australia state, which has since been repaired.
“We are already the world’s third-largest uranium producer, with nearly half of the world’s low-cost uranium reserves, and further opportunities on the horizon,” Ferguson told an industry gathering.
Despite its vast resources, Australia is losing ground as a producer of uranium to emerging economies such as Kazakhstan, Namibia and Niger. In 2009, Australia produced 7,156 metric tons of uranium oxide — just 13% of the global total.
Ranger produced 9% of the world’s uranium in 2009 but it is scheduled to close its main pit next year, while Jabiluka, a vast resource close to Ranger, may never be developed due to Aboriginal land-rights concerns.
Offsetting these projected declines, Ferguson said Uranium One Inc.’s Honeymoon uranium mine in South Australia is expected to start in the “next few months”.
BHP Billiton is currently considering an expansion of Olympic Dam, which Ferguson said could boost its uranium output eight-fold.
The diversified mining giant said Friday that it has moved closer to approving the expansion after gaining government approval to release to the public updated plans to meet environmental, social and economic concerns.
The company is working on a feasibility study and Chief Executive Marius Kloppers in February said an investment decision on whether to proceed was expected within 12 months.
The Green Party is working to kill the Uranium industry in Australia but they do not have the votes.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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