There is no question that the quality of mining in western Canada is world class.  As is the case with potash production, Saskatchewan also leads the charge in uranium production.  Currently, roughly 20 percent of world uranium production comes from the province.  While there are two innovative and well-established companies producing uranium in the province at the current time, as many as 25 companies are also exploring uranium possibilities.   As population and standards of living increase in many countries world-wide, the demand for more power and need for increased production are greater than ever before.  In response to this demand, a number of new reactors have been discussed in China, as well as in other countries including: India, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and the United Kingdom.  As a result, industry leaders are increasing production and new stakeholders are stepping up, vying for a piece of the uranium production plate.

This activity considered, industry challenges are often a topic of public discussion.  They include: a lack of infrastructure (particularly access to roads and electricity), poor public understanding of the industry and the nuclear fuel cycle, communication and network problems in the mining areas, shortages of skilled workers, as well as public distrust of nuclear energy, especially in the wake of the tsunami that struck the northeast coast of Japan in March, 2011 and the resulting reactor shutdowns there. 

Although the challenges to the industry are many, the potential cannot be overlooked and many remain optimistic.  Moving forward, northern communities and Aboriginal populations need to serve as key assets and represent a central part of the industry workforce.  Increased public awareness and environmental focus and continuing industry innovation will also serve to propel the industry forward into what appears to be a bright future.  

This section, focussed solely on uranium, is Insightwest’s way of highlighting the rhythm of this important industry.