IAEA details support for sustainable mining practices

A uranium mine in Ariz.
A uranium mine in Ariz. | Courtesy of Morguefile.com
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday detailed its support for sustainable practices for uranium mining and the development of these practices among its member states.

The report states that management of a mining facility plays a role in the development of practices and methods that ensure they are efficient and are as non-destructive as possible. This was a portion of the discussion that took place at a Leadership Academy Program that was hosted by the Chinese government and the IAEA in August.

“We learned that even though each uranium mining project is unique in its own way, there are a set of overarching sustainability principles and management approaches that should guide each project,” Cassius Chiwambo, senior mining engineer with the Malawi Ministry of Mining and Environment, said. “These include the three ‘R’ concepts – ‘recovery, reuse and recycle,’ as well as ‘comprehensive extraction’ and ‘zero waste’.”

The IAEA is working to raise international awareness about safe and sustainable mining methods and procedures during regular meetings and workshops in multiple member states.

One concern that the report states is the necessity to manage the monitoring and tracking of any radioactive residues that come as a result of the mining practice. If this is managed after the operational life cycle, associated costs can increase.

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