Environment

We recognize and embrace our responsibility to manage our activities with care for the protection of environmental resources. At Cameco, our stewardship is guided by a rigorous policy and programs designed to minimize our impacts on air, land, and water, and to safeguard the biodiversity of surrounding ecosystems.

The following are summary highlights of selected priority environmental topics. Please see our 2022 ESG Report for more information or Our Performance for all indicator results.

Water

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Responsible water management is critical to our business. We recognize the importance of preserving this resource for the Indigenous Peoples and local communities we share it with today.

We work continuously with regulators, governments, researchers, and communities to understand possible impacts, develop best practices, and make changes that mitigate potential impacts on the environment. At our sites and facilities, we have robust water management and monitoring programs that apply to all withdrawals and discharges, and we tailor our water management practices to local uses and conditions. As an organization, water security is not a significant risk since we only withdraw water in areas of low baseline water stress. Cameco uses World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas in defining areas of water stress.

Learn more about our water stewardship

Tailings Management

Tailings are an inevitable byproduct of most mining activities. Responsible and safe management of mining waste streams is critical to protecting the environment as well as the safety of our workers, operations and communities. To strengthen our tailings management approach, we seek to apply lessons learned from industry incidents and are committed to continuous improvement.

We employ broad, risk-based practices to effectively manage our tailings and mine waste storage facilities. We are committed to maintaining our rating and adherence to the MAC TSM tailings management protocols. We have implemented best practices identified in the Towards Sustainable Mining Tailings Management Protocol developed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and every three years, we undergo third-party verification.

Managing Tailings Facilities Through Their Lifescycle

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Construction and Design

  • Stable Tailings Facilities
  • Protecting Groundwater
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Good Management Practices

  • Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Tailings Management Protocol
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Monitoring

  • Regular Inspections
  • Environmental Monitoring
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Assessments and Reviews

  • Assessments
  • Learnings From Events
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Long-Term Risks

  • Environmental Risk Assessments

Learn more about our tailings management practices

GHG Emissions

We recognize the critical nature of the fight against climate change, and want our employees, customers, investors, and community partners near our operations to know we are fully committed to being an active and constructive partner in addressing this challenge.

Our GHG emissions are directly related to the type and amount of energy we consume. Cameco quantifies emissions following the globally recognized GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

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An image of the GHG Emissions - Operation Control data table
Scope 1

Our Scope 1 emissions are primarily associated with the consumption of gaseous fuels (propane, natural gas) for heating. We also use diesel and gasoline to operate heavy-duty and light vehicles across operations, and relatively small quantities of diesel for back-up power generating at our mine and mill facilities in Saskatchewan. We release small quantities of GHG emissions from chemical processes during milling and from Cameco-operated landfills.

Scope 2

All Scope 2 emissions arise from electricity consumption and correlate to the emissions intensity of grid-supplied electricity in the regions we operate. Our largest electricity uses include ventilation for mines and process areas, freeze plants which are used for water management at Cigar Lake and McArthur River mines, and running the pumps and motors we use in our production and water management processes.

Scope 3

In 2022, we started developing an inventory of our Scope 3 emissions. At this stage, we are focused on refining the quantification process and reducing uncertainty in the results. We continue to work with our suppliers to improve our Scope 3 emissions estimate and to understand the opportunities and challenges of decarbonizing our value chain.

Learn more about our GHG emissions and energy use

Developing a Low Carbon Transition Plan

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In 2022, we focused on developing Cameco’s Low Carbon Transition Plan including determining an appropriate GHG reduction target and potential decarbonization pathways. We engaged third party experts to help match our challenges and opportunities to emerging technologies. Additionally, our Climate Change team developed an intake and evaluation process for emissions reduction ideas, collaborating across the organization to consolidate, categorize and quantify opportunities.

The development of our Low Carbon Transition Plan has been informed by our recent efforts to implement an energy management information system at several operations. The system improves our ability to visualize, monitor and manage our energy use and emissions profile in real time, tracking spikes and following trends. This data is critical to day-to-day operational management at our sites and enables strategic energy use reduction and process change decisions where they will matter most.

We are pursuing energy and emissions management activities to seize this generational opportunity for Cameco and maintain our commitment to being an active and constructive partner in the fight against climate change – first by ensuring our 2030 emissions are 30% below our 2015 base year and then by achieving our longer-term net-zero ambition.

Learn more about our GHG reduction target

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