Potential Use of Radioactively Contaminated Mining Materials in the Construction of Residential Homes from Open Pit Uranium Mines in Gabon and Niger

19-11-2010

Reports on the negative health and environmental effects of open pit uranium mining activities by European companies in Gabon and Niger have prompted a media and public critical reaction. This study looks at mining practices in two pits in these countries. Available secondary sources are thoroughly reviewed and complemented with a field visit to Gabon despite the technical and practical difficulty of reaching the areas where the activity takes place. The assessment indicates that substantial problems and negligence exist in both countries with respect to the operation of the uranium mines, the safety of mines and local citizens. It also criticises a lack of transparency regarding company's data on radioactive pollution and, in one case, claims that radioactive materials have been used for construction and that water sources and soil around the mining villages have been affected.

Reports on the negative health and environmental effects of open pit uranium mining activities by European companies in Gabon and Niger have prompted a media and public critical reaction. This study looks at mining practices in two pits in these countries. Available secondary sources are thoroughly reviewed and complemented with a field visit to Gabon despite the technical and practical difficulty of reaching the areas where the activity takes place. The assessment indicates that substantial problems and negligence exist in both countries with respect to the operation of the uranium mines, the safety of mines and local citizens. It also criticises a lack of transparency regarding company's data on radioactive pollution and, in one case, claims that radioactive materials have been used for construction and that water sources and soil around the mining villages have been affected.

Externí autor

VEIT Sebastian (Senior Economist) and SREBOTNJAK Tanja (PhD) - Ecologic Institute, Germany