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Slippage in demand, increasing costs, and low spot market prices continued to influence the uranium industry during 1982. The supply of uranium exceeds the current demand and, as a result, exploration for uranium declined in the United States for the fourth straight year. During 1982, 92 companies spent $73.86 million on uranium exploration, including 6.1 million ft of surface drilling. This drilling was done mainly in the producing areas and in the areas of recent discoveries. During the year, a significant discovery was announced in south-central Virginia, the first major discovery in the eastern United States.
Production of uranium concentrate declined in 1982, when 1,343 short tons of uranium oxide (U3O8) were produced. In response to a soft market, numerous mines and 4 mills were closed during the year.
Domestic uranium reserves, as calculated by the Department of Energy, decreased during 1982, mainly because of increasing production costs and the lack of exploration to find new reserves.
Exploration for uranium in foreign countries also declined during 1982. Canada and Australia continue to dominate the long-term supply.
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