Northern Saskatchewan Presence

Orano recognizes the importance of identifying and meeting the expectations of our stakeholder and including them in our activities. We work to maintain open communication with our stakeholders interested in our operations. This engagement and dialogue has allowed us to understand our stakeholders and respond to their concerns.Orano 's operations also provide economic benefits, employment and business opportunities in Saskatchewan, with a strong focus on Saskatchewan’s north.

Orano demonstrates its commitment to Saskatchewan’s north through our support of continuing education and training. We understand that improving access to quality education is key to social and economic development. We support a variety of educational programs from early childhood development to post-secondary education opportunities. Orano also invests in northern communities through donations and sponsorships and the Six Rivers Fund.

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Collaboration with communities

Collaboration Agreements

Orano is a partner in the Pinehouse (2012), English River First Nations (2013) and Athabasca Basin Ya’Thi Nene (2016) Collaboration Agreements. The collaboration agreements build upon the enduring partnership in the development of uranium resources in northern Saskatchewan. They are structured on the five pillars of workforce development, business development, community engagement, environmental stewardship and community investment.

Working with our Neighbours

Ya Thi Néné Committees

For 23 years, the Athabasca Working Group (AWG), created in 1993, gathered representatives from the seven Athabasca communities and the northern Saskatchewan uranium mining operations, including Orano. The AWG met quarterly to discuss uranium mining and community matters such as environmental protection, health and safety, employment and training opportunities, contracting and business opportunities, and benefits, such as wages, scholarships, donations and sponsorships. And, the community representatives also had the opportunity to visit the various mining sites on a regular basis.

In June of 2016 a new collaboration agreement named Ya’ Thi Néné (“Lands of the North” in the Dene language) was signed between the three Athabasca Basin First Nation communities of Black Lake, Fond du Lac and Hatchet Lake and the four communities of Stony Rapids, Wollaston Lake, Uranium City and Camsell Portage, and Orano and its partner Cameco. The Ya’Thi Néné collaboration agreement builds on the previous Athabasca Working Group impact management agreement and is structured on the five pillars of workforce development, business development, community engagement and environmental stewardship, and community investment.

The Ya’ Thi Néné is implemented through three committees that include both community representatives and company representatives. The Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the agreement as a whole and the workforce development pillar. The Athabasca Joint Engagement and Environmental Committee’s (AJES) focus is on the community engagement and environmental stewardship pillars. The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) ensures that the business development pillar is enacted. 

Since 2020, Orano Canada has contributed to the Ya' Thi Néné Lands and Resources quarterly newsletter with operational updates and quarterly highlights.

Northern Career Quest (NQC)

Orano is proud to partner with Northern Career Quest (NCQ) in offering programs in support of training and employment of residents of Saskatchewan’s North. The goal of Orano’s partnership with NCQ is to prepare young northern Saskatchewan residents for the workplace and provide dedicated support to trainees from northern Saskatchewan in order to help them achieve their next level of certification and technical training within their chosen trade. Program costs are covered through funding by NCQ and contributions by Orano. The partnership offers training to young people entering the workforce in a range of disciplines, particularly in the trades, and also helps experienced workers develop the knowledge and skills through mentorship and leadership training to help them advance to supervisory roles.

One of Orano and NCQ’s partnership most successful endeavour is the Mill Operator Training Program at the McClean Lake site. Orano and NCQ started offering this training at the beginning of 2012, and since then, there have been seven more intakes of trainees. To date, Orano has trained 84 residents of northern Saskatchewan and hired 70 of them and 55 are still employeed at the McClean Lake operation. The program requires the participants’ commitment to learn new things and the ability to adapt to working a week in and a week out rotation for six complete turnarounds. The trainees have the opportunity to learn how a uranium mill works and get familiar with the operation of various areas such as the water treatment plant, the ore slurry receiving circuit or the calcining and packaging circuits. They also learn about confined space entry, lock-out/tag-out, fall protection, the transport of dangerous goods and complete the Workplace Hazardous Materials certification and learn to operate powered mobile equipment such as forklifts and skidsteers. The training provides participants with knowledge that they can apply to various workplaces in the future.

Community Vitality Monitoring Partnership (CVMP)

CVMP is an initiative to assess the social well-being and quality of life of residents of northern Saskatchewan impacted by uranium mining. This program is a joint initiative of Orano and its joint venture partner Cameco Corporation to assess the social well-being and quality of life of residents of northern Saskatchewan as it relates to uranium mining.

Grievance Mechanism Summary for Stakeholders

Orano Canada provides numerous opportunities for engagement including access to effective mechanisms to resolve grievances. Through the implementation of this process to manage complaints or grievances we wish to reinforce relationships with the stakeholders and communities near our operations and activities that are based on trust and transparency. 

Please follow the link below for more information on our grievance mechanism or email your concern to:

Protecting the Land

Community Based Environmental Monitoring for the Athabasca Basin

Every year, since the inception of the former Athabasca Working Group – now replaced by the Ya’ Thi Néné Collaboration Agreement – an environmental monitoring program has been in place with the help of community members and an independent third-party provider, CanNorth.

This Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Program collects and analyzes water, air, soil, plant, and animal samples, measuring the impact of mining activities on the surrounding environment. The related annual reports produced show us – and our communities – that there is no measurable environmental impact from mining activities on their communities. These annual reports include the communities of Black Lake, Stony Rapids, Fond-du-Lac, Camsell Portage, Uranium City and Wollaston/Hatchet Lake.

A new Ya Thi Néné Land and Resource Office was created recently as part of the new collaboration agreement and will serve as a point of contact on environment-related matters for the uranium companies and the Athabasca Communities. The new Land and Resource Office will continue to report on the Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Program as in the past.

Northern Saskatchewan Environmental Quality Committee (NSEQC)

The Northern Saskatchewan Environmental Quality Committee (NSEQC) enables northerners to learn more about uranium mining activities and to see first-hand the environmental protection measures being employed and the socio-economic benefits being gained. The NSEQC is made up of representatives from 32 northern municipal and First Nation communities from all of northern Saskatchewan. NSEQC members meet regularly with representatives of provincial government and the uranium mining industry, touring facilities, discussing concerns, and seeking answers to questions of interest to their home communities. From time to time, they also meet with representatives of the federal Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

The NSEQC was formed in 1995 following recommendations from the Federal-Provincial Joint Panel on Uranium Developments in northern Saskatchewan. The NSEQC representatives are nominated by Aboriginal band or municipal governments in the communities named in the Human Resource Development Agreements for the various mine sites.

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Northern Preference Hiring and Training

We are committed to the recruitment of residents of Saskatchewan's North. At the McClean Lake operation, more than half of our employees are northerners and 48% of them are Aboriginal.

In 2016, wages and benefits provided by Orano to northern employees totaled over $20 million.

Providing education and career opportunities to northern residents strengthens Orano and northern communities alike. To meet our workforce requirements, Orano has various training programs for current and potential employees from northern Saskatchewan, demonstrating our commitment to northern residents, and to strengthening northern communities.

    Here are some of programs we offer at our McClean Lake Operation to residents of Saskatchewan’s Northern Administration District (NAD):
  • Mill Operator Training Program
  • Job Shadow for Grade 10 to 12 students
  • Apprenticeships
  • Supervisor & Leadership Training

Orano partners with Northern Career Quest (NCQ) to offer training and employment programs to residents of Saskatchewan’s north. Read about our partnership with NCQ on our Collaboration with Communities page.

Orano's northern recruitment and training strategies contribute to the distinction that Saskatchewan's uranium mining industry is Canada's largest industrial employer of Aboriginal people.

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Saskatchewan & Northern Preference Contracting

Orano uses a number of contractors at the McClean Lake operation to provide many key services, such as janitorial, security, catering, logistics, and general construction. It is essential to northern communities that jobs within these companies are available to local northern candidates. Therefore, it is important to Orano that these contractors preferentially hire employees who reside in northern Saskatchewan.

The same goes for our exploration activities contractors such as drilling services. As part of the contracting process, Orano requests that these key contractors provide monthly data pertaining to the percentage of northerners working for them. In 2017 Orano spent over $74 million in goods and services from Saskatchewan businesses, and including over $49 million from northern companies.
Public relations

phone: 1 (306) 343-4500
email: oc-public

Northern Scholarships

Orano provides scholarships for post-secondary students from northern Saskatchewan each year. We have been contributing to the education of northern students for more than 40 years.

Community Investment

Orano’s community investment pillar is primarily focused on community initiatives and organizations in the regions near our operations and activities or where our employees reside.

Incident Notification

This information notifies the public of incidents that may be important to them, remedial actions undertaken, and their potential effect on health, safety and the environment.

Mining operations

The group holds a broad portfolio of mines in operation (Canada, Kazakhstan and Niger), as well as projects under development (Africa).