A COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT OF EXISTING AND FUTURE ENERGY AND GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INTENSITY FROM URANIUM MINING
Uranium mining remains controversial in many parts of the world, especially in a post-Fukushima context, and often in areas with significant uranium resources. Although nuclear proponents point to the relatively low carbon intensity of nuclear power compared to fossil fuels, opponents argue that this will be eroded in the future as ore grades decline and energy and greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) intensity increases as a result. Invariably both sides fail to make use of the increasingly available data reported by existing uranium mines through sustainability reporting – allowing a comprehensive assessment of recent trends in the energy and GGEs intensity of uranium production, as well as combining this with reported mineral resources to allow more comprehensive modelling of future energy and GGEs intensity. In this study, detailed data is reported for numerous uranium mines around the world, including production, energy and GGEs intensity and reported mineral resources. An important aspect included – arguably unique and never before published – is the relationship between ore grade and recovery, which is crucial in future projections of uranium mining. Overall, the paper shows the importance of continuing to improve reporting by the uranium sector as well as the ability to analyse key trends and future projections in energy and GGEs intensity of uranium production.
Data; energy; ore grade; Resources; Mines; Mine; mining;