Uranium supply
Uranium ore. Photo: Areva.

Uranium is the raw material used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants generating significant amounts of electricity with life cycle carbon emissions that are as low as renewable energy sources.

While environmental concerns and radiological protection in uranium mining are often at the forefront of stakeholder engagement, there is usually little public discussion about the influence of the uranium mining industry on economic and social development.

Mining in general is a critical economic driver in many countries, accounting for a major percentage of foreign direct investment, mineral exports and government revenue. A mining project can bring benefits to the local and national economies, including economic development, jobs, investment in infrastructure, mining product exports, royalties and tax revenues, education and medical care. These contributions can act as an economic catalyst in support of the development of communities, regions and whole economies.

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NEA work on this topic

The Expert Group on Uranium Mining and Economic Development (UMED) was formed in 2017 to analyse the potential contribution of Uranium Mining in the economic and social development. Case studies in various countries will be examined to understand the uranium mining impact on economic development, jobs, infrastructure, education and medical care. Are the Uranium activities managed to ensure a positive benefit to the local or national economies?

As there is a growing debate about the distribution of mineral wealth for the industry, the Expert Group analysis could be a useful tool for the government policy makers and regulators, the industry and the local communities to ensure that the development potential of uranium mining can be maximised.