Uranium mine rehabilitation relies on the same principles, frameworks, standards and general guidance that apply to rehabilitation practice across the resources industry.
Planning the closure of a uranium mine, as with all mines, begins with the first planning for development and operation of the mine. Rehabilitation will begin when a mine is operating and continue well after the mine is closed.
While there are best practice principles and guidelines for closure planning, each project and each operating mine is unique including geological, climatic, metallurgical, hydrological, economic and cultural aspects.
Rehabilitation and closure plans are regularly reviewed and updated in light of changing technology and practice and to reflect cultural change and changes in expectations of traditional owners and other stakeholders.
Uranium tailings result from the mining and processing of uranium bearing ore above a defined cut-off grade.
The ore is typically reduced to sand and silt sizes by initial crushing followed by fine grinding. It is then subjected to further processing that involves acid or alkaline leaching to chemically extract the uranium.
The crushed and ground rock wasted which remains after extraction of the uranium forms the majority of the tailings solids.