Making Uranium-Mining More Sustainable – The FP7 Project EO-MINERS

  • W. Eberhard Falck
  • Henk Coetzee
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


Every mining operation impacts the environment and the adjacent communities to a lesser or greater degree and minimizing such impacts is at the core of initiatives to make mining, including uranium mining more sustainable. Over the past two decades work has focused on remediating uranium mining legacies in the wake of mine closures. However, with the demand for uranium increasing again, old mines are revived and new mines opened. In order to avoid the mistakes and poor practices of the past, we need to look into methods to make uranium mining operations more sustainable. The European Commission Framework Programme 7 project EO-Miners aims to support stakeholder dialogue by providing independent information based mainly on earth-observation techniques with a focus on remote sensing. Typical information that can be gathered includes mine land-use, the state of remediation including recultivation success, the dispersal of acid mine drainage, surface radioactivity, risks from spoil heaps and dams, landscape fragmentation due to mine infrastructure encroachment of informal settlements on mine-affected land, etc. This paper describes the processes and procedures that are being developed in the EO-Miners project for making such earth-observation techniques useful for deliberative stakeholder processes.


Acid Mine Drainage Uranium Mining Informal Settlement Extensive Property Tailing Pond 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. European Commission (2011) “Tackling the challenges in commodity markets and on raw materials”, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Regional Committee and the Committee of the Regions, COM(2011) 25 final.Google Scholar
  2. Falck WE (2006) Closing the Cycle: Life-Cycle Impact Assessment of Materials Used in Nuclear Energy Systems. In: Uranium Production and Raw Materials for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle – Supply and Demand, Economics, the Environment and Energy Security, Proc. Symp., Vienna, 20–24 June 2005: 76–83.Google Scholar
  3. Falck WE (2009) Towards a Sustainable Front-End of Nuclear Energy Systems. European Commission, Report EUR 23955 EN: 38 p. Luxembourg (Luxembourg).Google Scholar
  4. Falck WE, Spangenberg J, Solar SV, Wittmer D (in prep.) Candidate Indicators for Mining-related Impacts. Earth Observation for Monitoring and Observing Environmental and Societal Impacts of Mineral Resources Exploration and Exploitation, CEC FP7 Project EOMiners, Deliverable D1.9.Google Scholar
  5. IAEA (2010) Best Practice in Environmental Management of Uranium Mining. International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Energy Series No. NF-T-1.2: 47 p, Vienna.Google Scholar
  6. IAEA (2006) Management of Long-Term Radiological Liabilities: Stewardship Challenges. International Atomic Energy Agency, Report IAEA-TRS-450, Vienna.Google Scholar
  7. IAEA (2005) Environmental Contamination from Uranium Production Facilities and their Remediation. International Atomic Energy Agency, Proceedings of an International Workshop held in Lisbon, February 2004, Proceedings Series STI/PUB/1228, 262 p.Google Scholar
  8. IAEA (2004) Recent Developments in Uranium Resources and Production with Emphasis on In Situ Leach Mining Details. International Atomic Energy Agency, Report IAEA-TECDOC-1396, Vienna.Google Scholar
  9. IAEA (2002): Non-technical Factors Impacting on the Decision Making Processes in Environmental Remediation. International Atomic Energy Agency, Report IAEA-TECDOC-1279, Vienna.Google Scholar
  10. OECD-NEA (2010): Uranium 2009: Resources, Production and Demand. OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and International Atomic Energy Agency, Paris.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Eberhard Falck
    • 1
  • Henk Coetzee
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire REEDSUniversité de Versailles St. Quentin-en-YvelinesRambouilletFrance
  2. 2.Council for GeosciencePretoriaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations