A common feature of all UOC transport is that in most cases it involves lengthy transits from mine sites to conversion facilities.
The shipment of UOC from Australia involves multi-modal road, rail and sea transport. As the mines are located in relatively remote regions, lengthy transits to Port Adelaide (the current point of export) are required. Operations are well managed and monitored by the mining companies, with oversight from the federal, state and territory governments. From Adelaide, the UOC crosses the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of America. Deliveries are then transported by road to conversion facilities in USA or Canada.
UOC from the Arlit mine in Niger travels 1,600km (approx. 994mi) by truck to Parakou in Benin. The road it travels was constructed especially for transporting uranium to the Benin border in the 1970s. This road, dubbed the “Uranium Highway,” is part of the Trans-Sahara Highway system. In Parakou, drums are loaded onto trains which travel another 400km (approx. 248mi) to Cotonou harbor from where they are shipped 4,500km (approx. 2,796mi) to Le Havre in France and then transferred onto rail for the final journey into the conversion facility in the south of France.
In 2014, the longest uranium transport route in Africa was for the uranium mined at Kayelekera in Malawi, which passes 2,500km (approx. 1,553mi) through Malawi, Zambia and Namibia to Walvis Bay. Access to points of exports along the east coast of Africa would substantially reduce the inland transit from Malawi and this remains a “work in progress”. Early in 2014 the mine was put on care and maintenance until the price and economics of uranium production improve.