Orano Mining
Corporate Social Responsibility
Report 2017
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Orano transforms nuclear materials so that they can be used to support the development of society, first and foremost in the field of energy.

The group offers products and services with high added value throughout the entire nuclear fuel cycle, from raw materials to waste treatment. Its activities, from mining to dismantling, as well as in conversion, enrichment, recycling, logistics and engineering, contribute to the production of low-carbon electricity.

Orano and its 16,000 employees bring to bear their expertise and their mastery of cutting-edge technology, as well as their permanent search for innovation and unwavering dedication to safety, to serve their customers in France and abroad.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Orano has embarked on a proactive sustainable development initiative by making strong commitments in matters of corporate social, environmental and societal responsibility. These commitments are deployed and periodically updated through the policies that the group implements in a number of areas – human resources, diversity, nuclear safety, health, occupational safety and the environment – as well as through its code of ethics. These different policies and the code help organize the company’s operations in compliance with human rights and in the interest of environmental protection and the laws that govern them. Orano’s efforts target continuous improvement in performance in all fields, particularly nuclear and occupational safety, and take into consideration the expectations of all stakeholders concerned by its activities.

Orano subscribes to the United Nations’ Global Compact and, on the occasion of the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference, reaffirmed its commitment for its activities, in particular to:

  • halve industrial emissions of CO2 in Orano's nuclear cycle facilities by 2020 compared to 2004;
  • achieve at least an 80% reduction in the total energy used throughout the group’s facilities by 2020 compared to 2004.

In addition, Orano is pursuing its proactive continuous improvement initiative in its mining operations based on best international practices for corporate social responsibility, in particular through the ten principles of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).

Mining activities

Constituting the first link in the nuclear fuel cycle, Orano's mining activities cover uranium exploration, production and commercialization throughout the world.

Orano counts among the world's leading producers of uranium with competitive production costs and cutting-edge extraction techniques implemented in mines in operation in Canada, Kazakhstan and Niger.

Committed to its role as a responsible mining company, Orano conducts its mining activities in a manner that fully respects people and the environment, and contributes to the economic development of local regions and their populations.

Orano's mining activities around the world

Thanks to a presence spanning four continents, Orano Mining can guarantee its customers a sustainable supply of uranium for their electricity production needs while maintaining a responsible attitude towards people and the environment.

Key figures for 2017
  • Contribution to Consolidated Revenue of 1,294 M€ (33% of Orano revenue) ;
  • 3 857 employees* ;
  • 5 operating sites in 3 countries ;
  • 10,531** metric tons of uranium ;
  • 14% worldwide market share.

* All employees managed by Orano Mining (fixed-term + permanent contracts) without taking into account Orano's financial participation in mining joint-ventures.

** Consolidated financial share including 453 metric tons from COMINAK, whose accounts are deconsolidated in accordance with accounting rules.

The main stages in the mining cycle

Exploration – 10 years in average

Exploration involves finding new uranium deposits. Prospecting is carried out in successive steps: geological study of the region, interpretation of aerial or satellite photos, geophysical techniques, ground radioactivity measurements and studies of soil and water chemistry.

Mining project – from 8 to 12 years

The development phase determines the technical, economic and environmental viability of a mining project. It involves confirming the resources identified by geologists and characterizing the deposit and its ore. During this stage, the industrial pilot, which allows the extraction and ore-processing methods to be established, is set up. The infrastructures needed for mine operation are built. Studies are also performed to assess the societal and environmental impact of the project.

Extraction and processing - from 12 to 50 years

Ore is extracted from open-pit or underground mines, or using in situ recovery. Orano's mining experts also regularly test and apply innovative techniques, which improve the performance of existing operations and increase personnel safety.

The main ore processing operations include crushing and grinding, dissolving, purification, calcination and concentration. The ore of uranium is transformed into a solid concentrate referred to as "yellow cake" (due to its appearance and color).

Post-mining: closure, remediation, monitoring and value development - more than 10 years

This stage covers the dismantling, remediation and vegetation of sites at the end of mining operations, carried out in compliance with the applicable environmental standards, coordinated with the competent authorities and in consultation with local populations. Orano Mining also performs radiological and environmental monitoring at these sites for at least 10 years.

Orano Mining's initiative to develop and valorize land assets in France on post-mining sites is focusing on renewable energy usages. Together with other project sponsors, Orano Mining is promoting the set-up of photovoltaic farms on former mining and tailings disposal sites. As at today: 3 farms in operation and 12 projects ongoing.