The Mining Business Group at a Glance
The Mining Business Group is active on five continents, exploring for new deposits, mining and milling uranium ore, and rehabilitating sites at the end of mining operations.
With a market share of close to 15% in 2013, AREVA is the second-largest uranium producer in the world. The group has a diversified portfolio of operating mines in Canada, Kazakhstan and Niger as well as projects under development in Africa.
Goals and outlook
- To be a responsible actor in the mining industry, meeting the highest international standards in the fields of safety, the environment and corporate social responsibility
- To provide AREVA’s customers with secure supplies of uranium
- To maintain 20 years of production in weighted resources and reserves
- To remain a low-cost producer
- To keep profitability on a par with the highest levels in the mining industry
Synergistic Business Units
Exploration involves discovering new uranium deposits.
Prospecting is done in stages: a geological survey of the region, interpretation of aerial or satellite images, geophysics, radiation measurements in the field, and analysis of ground and water chemistry.
Mining in done in open pit or underground mines, or by drilling.
AREVA’s mining experts regularly test and use innovative techniques to improve personnel safety and the performance of existing mines.
The uranium ore is converted into a solid concentrate called “yellowcake” due to its color and appearance.
Milling operations include ore crushing and grinding, solubilization, purification, rinsing, precipitation, drying and calcination.
At the end of the mine’s operating life, the mill is dismantled and the site is rehabilitated and replanted in compliance with applicable environmental standards, while dialogue with the local community continues.
AREVA performs radiological and environmental monitoring of these sites for a period of at least 10 years.
An international market
2013 sales revenue by region
There is currently a significant imbalance between supply and demand in the market for natural uranium.
The reactor demand for uranium is indeed less than the supply from mine production and secondary resources. Despite gradual adjustments of production levels, prices are continuing to decline. In 2013, spot and long-term prices decreased, respectively, by 25% and 12%, to 35 and 50 $/lbU308.
The market is expected to grow, however, with a 19% increase in world demand by 2020 forecast by the WNA. This growth will be driven mainly by the restart of Japanese reactors and the expanding needs of China’s reactor fleet.