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.
The Expert Group on Uranium Mining and Economic Development (UMED) analysed the potential contribution of uranium mining in economic and social development, and explored whether uranium activities are managed to ensure a positive benefit to local and national economies. Case studies in various countries will be examined in order to understand the impact of uranium mining on economic development, jobs, infrastructure, education and medical care.
As there is a growing debate in the industry about distribution of mineral wealth, the group's analysis could be a useful tool for policymakers and regulators, the industry and local communities to ensure that the development potential of uranium mining is maximised.