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Mining With Principles by applying the mitigation hierarchy to achieve no net loss of biodiversity 

Healthy ecosystems are essential for the health and wellbeing of all life on Earth, but they are deteriorating more rapidly than ever. ICMM members implement innovative restoration techniques to address impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, supporting nature’s recovery.

ICMM members work to assess and address impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem caused by operations through the application of the mitigation hierarchy, working towards the ambition of no net loss of biodiversity. This means that mining operations take measures to avoid and minimise potential impacts, to restore affected areas, and to offset any impacts that might have occurred.

ICMM member Orano is committed to preserving local ecosystems surrounding its operations, such as the integrated approaches to land-use planning and conservation at its Fanay-Augères site.

On the former Fanay mining site, in operation between 1953 and 1992, Orano carried out hydraulic development work to drown the former underground mining galleries and maintain the biodiversity of a protected wetland area. A series of mitigation and restoration measures to avoid and minimise any impact on the local ecology, and restore it where this was not possible, were implemented.

As a precautionary measure, Orano carried out work to preserve water on the site between 2012 and 2017. This included the diversion of a stream and expansion of protected wetlands. However, necessary measures for the mining operation were disturbing to the “Sibthorpie of Europe”, a rare plant originally documented by Orano. Once the works to expand the wetland were finished, Orano re-introduced the plant at its original territory, the wetland of Sagnes, and also created a new home for the plant a few kilometres away.

To do this, Orano developed an innovative protocol for the removal and reintroduction of this perennial plant, including hosting them at a plant nursery for five months, ensuring stabilised watering in line with the level of the wetland, and monitoring the health of the plants before their reintroduction. Both operations (re-introduction and off-setting) were supervised by the Conservatory of Natural Species. The plants are now thriving in their restored home and at their new home.

Orano’s work to implement the mitigation hierarchy has enabled a thriving sustainable ecosystem at Fanay-Augères with no net loss from its activities.