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Decommissioning Projects - South/Central America

(last updated 16 Sep 2017)


(Maps and boundary data are copyrighted by FOTW - Flags Of The World web site)

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Argentina   flag

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> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning


Journalists publish investigation on abandoned open pit mines in Argentina

A team of journalists of the Forum of Argentine Journalism (Fopea) published an exhaustive investigation on open pit mining. Fopea verified that there are at least 75 abandoned mines left all over the country, ignored by the national government. There are no registries, neither official maps nor data. But people are living and used to live at these sites.
The investigation team of Fopea visited five abandoned mines in Argentina, among them the former uranium mines of Los Colorados (La Rioja) and Los Adobes (Chubut). The journalists also discuss the uranium exploration and the imminent reopening of the Sierra Pintada mine in San Rafael (Mendoza), the tailings of which are accumulated in Malargüe. (Los Andes Feb. 3, 2010)

> El día después de las minas, peligro sin control (Foro de Periodismo Argentino - in Spanish)

CNEA releases environmental assessment of reclamation of former uranium mine and mill sites in Argentina

> Download: Proyecto de Restitucion Ambiental de la Mineria del Uranio (PRAMU): EVALUACION AMBIENTAL, Documento Marco, 03 Diciembre de 2005 (in Spanish): CNEA · World Bank
> Download: Argentina: Uranium mining Environmental restoration Project, Environmental assessment - Executive Summary, January 2006 (in English): World Bank

Argentina: Plans for reclamation of uranium mining sites with World Bank loan

The Argentinian Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEA) plans to reclaim the former uranium mining sites in the country with the help of a World Bank loan. In a first stage, the efforts shall be concentrated on the site of Malargüe (Mendoza), and in a second stage on Córdoba and Los Gigantes (Córdoba), and others. The total reclamation cost is estimated at US$ 25 million.
On July 31, 2008, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a US$30 million loan to support an environmental program designed to assist the Government of Argentina, specifically the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA), to meet its legal obligations to remediate closed uranium mines and milling facilities in a permanent manner, consistent with internationally accepted standards for the safe disposal and handling of hazardous materials. The Mining Environmental Restoration Program will finance investments to remediate the closed uranium processing site in Malargüe, Mendoza, and will provide technical assistance for the planning and engineering design of up to seven additional sites.

Project description: Argentina-Mining Decontamination Project (World Bank)
Project data (World Bank)

Proyecto de Restitución Ambiental de la Minería del Uranio (PRAMU) (CNEA)


Malargüe (Mendoza)

Reclamation of Malargüe uranium mill tailings completed: The encapsulation of uranium tailings deposited in Malargüe has been completed. This information, although not officially confirmed, transcended from sources within the scope of the National Atomic Energy Commission. Finally, after the World Bank granted a loan of US $ 30 million for its completion, the 700,000 tons of uranium mining waste from the Huemul mine in Malargüe and the Sierra Pintada mine in San Rafael, which are only 1,000 Meters away from San Martín Square, are encapsulated. According to the urban planning of the Municipality of Malargüe, the site will be landscaped and will have environmental monitoring done by the CNEA and the supervision of the RNA. (Los Andes Apr. 19, 2017)
The surface of the site was converted to a public parc. (Los Andes Sep. 15, 2017)

Reclamation work on the Malargüe uranium mill tailings started on March 17, 2003, with preparation of the disposal site for the tailings. The work is co-financed by the World Bank. (Los Andes April 7, June 16, 2003)

> See also: Argentina: Plans for reclamation of uranium mining sites with World Bank loan


Los Gigantes (Córdoba)

Waste from closed Dioxitek UO2 plant in Córdoba to be dumped on former Los Gigantes uranium mine site

The amount of 58,000 tonnes of radioactive waste is to be transported from the closed Dioxitek UO2 plant in Córdoba to the former Los Gigantes uranium mine site, according to a document submitted by CNEA to the World Bank. Althouth the Los Gigantes mine ceased operations in 1990, no remediation works were carried out yet. (La Voz Dec. 20, 2015)

Residents complain about lack of progress with reclamation of Los Gigantes uranium mine - 25 years after mining ceased

The residents of Villa Carlos Paz and Tanti are claiming for years assurances that the former uranium deposit of Los Gigantes (30 kilometers from the cities) does not contaminate the watershed of the San Roque. The mine operated until 1990 but there are tons of materials piled up in the area [in particular 2.4 million t of heap leach residue].
The National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) through the Environmental Restoration Program of Uranium Mining (Pramu), funded by the World Bank is supposed to manage the situation. But the community now says it has no information that anything happens at all.
For Alicia Morales Lamberti, holder of the Chair for Environmental Law and Natural Resources of the National University of Córdoba, the problem is that the implementation of the program is "very slow" and that, unlike the provisions for Sierra Pintada (Mendoza) is "maintenance only". (La Nacion Oct. 1, 2015)

> See also: Argentina: Plans for reclamation of uranium mining sites with World Bank loan


Brazil   flag

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> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning



Poços de Caldas (Minas Gerais)

> View deposit info · decommissioning data

INB presents reclamation plan for former Poços de Caldas uranium mine

On June 26, the Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil present the Plan for Recovery of Degraded Areas - PRAD to the population and authorities of Caldas, where it ran the first uranium mine in the country. The proposal is the result of a two-year study addressing hydrogeological, geochemical, and radiological aspects, conducted by the multinational contractor of INB, Golder Associates.
The program provides for the recovery of the environment of the area comprising the mine, industrial facilities and tailings dam. According to Golder, the environmental restoration of the area involves funds of about Real 400 million [US$ 192 million] in work that will extend over nearly two decades. (INB June 26, 2012)

Water treatment at former Poços de Caldas uranium mine site needs improvement, study shows

"[...] The water samples obtained from waste rock piles showed high uranium concentrations (5.62 mg L-1), high manganese values (75 mg L-1) and low average pH values (3.4).
The evaluation of the water quality at the point considered the limit between the Ore Treatment Unit of the Brazilian Nuclear Industries and the environment (Consulta Creek) indicated contamination by fluoride, manganese, uranium and zinc.
The Antas reservoir showed seasonal variations in water quality, with mean concentrations for fluoride (0.50 mg L-1), sulfate (16 mg L-1) and hardness (20 mg L-1) which were low in January, evidencing the effect of rainwater flowing into the system.
The concentrations for fluoride, sulfate and manganese were close or above to the limits established by current legislation at the point where the treated mining effluent was discharged and downstream from this point.
This study demonstrated that the effluent discharged by the UTM affected the quality of the water in the Antas reservoir, and thus the treatments currently used for effluent need to be reviewed. "

Evaluation of surface water quality in aquatic bodies under the influence of uranium mining (MG, Brazil), by Rodgher S, de Azevedo H, Ferrari CR, et al., in: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, ahead of print, June 21, 2012

Justice orders cleanup of former Poços de Caldas uranium mine

From 1982 to 1995, INB's uranium mill at Caldas produced 1200 tonnes of uranium ore concentrate (yellow cake). Although closed for 15 years, decommissioning still has not started, causing contamination fears. The former open pit currently forms an acidic lake of 1200 metres diameter and 180 metres depth. The complex comprises the disused uranium mill, the uranium mill tailings basin, and deposits of radioactive materials - approximately 11,000 tonnes of uranium and thorium concentrate, among others - that had been transferred to the site during two decades from the (zirconium processing) plant of Santo Amaro (São Paulo). (O Estado Jan. 31, 2011)


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