Decommissioning

Preparing for the End from the Beginning

From exploration to decommissioning, environmental protection is considered at every step of the way.

We have the end in mind from the very beginning. Decommissioning plans, including monetary assurances, are put in place at the onset of new projects.

Orano Canada is meeting the standard for modern mine decommissioning in Canada with the Cluff Lake site – the first uranium mine site of its era to be decommisssioned.

The area is monitored and inspected regularly. With continued and strong environmental performance, Orano will eventually transition its monitoring program to a long-term program under the direction of the province of Saskatchewan.

It is a good example of responsible resource development – providing about 4,000 person years of company employment, largely to local communities’ members, without compromising the safe consumption of country foods on nearby lands during operations and the returned availability of the site for traditional purposes such as fishing, hunting, and trapping post-operations.

Cluff Lake’s Story

Opening in 1980, the mine was an integral part of northern Saskatchewan for nearly a quarter century, producing over 62 million pounds of yellowcake uranium concentrate.

In 2002, Orano’s Cluff Lake mine in the western Athabasca Basin reached the end of its uranium production.

Most of the physical decommissioning of the Cluff Lake site was completed by 2006. Since 2013, access to the site is not restricted and Orano no longer occupies the site full-time. Orano conducts environmental monitoring through annual trips to the site. Thus far, the site has performed very well, and risk assessments predict that the site will remain stable and safe over the long-term.

Over 650,000 trees have been planted, and trees and grass continue to establish, hence blending the former mining area back into the surrounding natural landscape.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) renewed Cluff Lake's decommissioning licence for a 10-year period, from August 1, 2009, until July 31, 2019. Orano’s goal is to ultimately transfer the Cluff Lake decommissioned site back to the Province of Saskatchewan under the Institutional Control Program (ICP).

Ownership structure

Orano: 100%
Operator:Orano Canada

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the water quality downstream of Cluff Lake meeting the objectives of the decommissioning plan?

Yes, water quality across the site and downstream meets decommissioning objectives and is expected to continue to do so in the long-term.

Is it safe to eat traditional foods from the Cluff Lake area?

Yes, environmental risk assessment has shown that it is safe for a casual visitor to hunt, fish, gather, and trap at the Cluff Lake site.

Are the pits, waste rock piles, and tailings management area safe and stable in the long-term?

Yes, routine inspections have shown that the areas are performing well with good growth of trees and grasses.

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Public relations

phone: 1 (306) 343-4500
oc-publicrelations@orano.group

Community Investment

Orano’s community investment pillar is primarily focused on community initiatives and organizations in the regions near our operations and activities or where our employees reside. Orano also provides scholarships for post-secondary students from northern Saskatchewan.

Incident Notification

This information notifies the public of incidents that may be important to them, remedial actions undertaken, and their potential effect on health, safety and the environment.

Mining operations

The group holds a broad portfolio of mines in operation (Canada, Kazakhstan and Niger), as well as projects under development (Africa).