by World Nuclear Association, updated July 2017
Production from world uranium mines now supplies 90% of the requirements of power utilities.
Primary production from mines is supplemented by secondary supplies, formerly most from ex-military material but now the products of recycling and stockpiles built up in times of reduced demand.
World mine production has expanded significantly since about 2005.
All mineral commodity markets tend to be cyclical, i.e. prices rise and fall substantially over the years, but with these fluctuations superimposed on long-term trend decline in real prices, as technological progress reduces production cost at mines. In the uranium market, however, high prices in the late 1970s gave way to depressed prices in the whole of the period of the 1980s and 1990s, with spot prices below the cost of production for all but the lowest cost mines. Spot prices recovered from 2003 to 2009, but have been weak since then.
The quoted spot prices through to about 2007 applied only to day-to-day marginal trading and represented a small portion of supply, though since 2008 the proportion has approximately doubled, to about one-quarter in the last decade. Most trade is via 3-15 year term contracts with producers selling directly to utilities at a significantly higher price than the spot market, reflecting the security of supply.* The specified price in these contracts is, however, often related to the spot price at the time of delivery. However, as production has risen much faster than demand, fewer long-term contracts are being written.