Uranium is found in more than 200 different minerals which are mostly prevalent in granite and sedimentary rocks. Mined uranium ore is milled and beneficiated before undergoing hydrometallurgical processing. Hydrometallurgical processing usually involves leaching the ore with alkali or acid to extract the uranium. The leached solution is then purified typically via solvent extraction or ion exchange and is then and precipitated to produce uranium oxide (U3O8), commonly referred to as yellow cake.
Uranium is predominantly used as fuel in nuclear power reactors to generate electricity and is also useful in the production of radioisotopes used in a variety of fields including medicine and food processing.