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(last updated 15 May 2017)


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(Maps and boundary data are copyrighted by FOTW - Flags Of The World web site) PM - St. Pierre et Miquelon


Site Index:
Beaverlodge · Cluff Lake · Elliot Lake · Gunnar · Lorado · Madawaska · Port Radium · Rabbit Lake · Rayrock · Unlicensed Sask. uranium tailings sites


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

General

> See also: National Reports for Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (IAEA)

 

Unlicensed uranium tailings sites (general)

> See also: Unlicensed uranium tailings sites in: Saskatchewan · Ontario · Northwest Territories

Canada, rather than Province, should pay for the decontamination of the old Uranium City mines, analysts say

Canada should pay for the decontamination of the old uranium mines near Uranium City in Northern Saskatchewan before returning them to the Province, proposes a report released this week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives .
The researchers of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society explain that the sites in the Uranium City area are heavily contaminated. At certain places, the uranium concentration is 24 times the Saskatchewan standard for the protection of the aquatic fauna. Peter Prebble and Ann Coxworth maintain that the decontamination costs that could rise above CDN$ 100 million should not have to be payed by the Saskatchewan tax payers. (Radio Canada July 18, 2013)
> Download The Government of Canada's Legacy of Contamination in Northern Saskatchewan Watersheds , by Peter Prebble and Ann Coxworth (937kB PDF)

CNSC issues temporary licensing exemptions for old uranium tailings sites

The CNSC issued, during its Dec. 14, 2001, meeting, licensing exemptions for up to three years for 11 currently unlicensed uranium mill tailings sites: "The licences and licensees [...] are unusual in several respects. These sites are historic uranium mine site that were never licensed, and it is only now that licencing is required under the NSCA [Nuclear Safety and Control Act]. Some of the sites in question have been identified as priorities by environmental groups, and have a relatively high public profile. In addition, the future licensees are in some cases federal and provincial departments that were not bound by past legislation."
"CNSC staff believes that the most appropriate means of regulatory control for these sites is through licensing. The exemptions [...] are intended to permit sufficient time to bring the licensing option into effect."
"One of the objectives of bringing the sites and activities described [...] under licence upon termination of the exemption periods is to enable the CNSC to require appropriate financial guarantees, where deemed necessary, covering the decommissioning of the sites and subsequent management of the wastes."
(Commission Member Documents CMD 01M-77 and 01M-77.A)

> Download Commission agenda Dec. 13/14, 2001 (PDF)
> Download Commission meeting transcript Dec. 14, 2001 (PDF)
> Download Commission meeting minutes Dec. 13/14, 2001 · Annex B-C (Decision) (PDF)


SASKATCHEWAN

Beaverlodge · Cluff Lake · Gunnar · Lorado · Rabbit Lake · Unlicensed Sask. uranium tailings sites
> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

Unlicensed Saskatchewan uranium tailings sites

Former Lorado Mine Site Rehabilitation Project (Saskatchewan)

Federal environmental assessment cancelled for Former Lorado Uranium Mill Site Rehabilitation Project, as a result of change in legislation
On July 6, 2012, the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 came into effect, changing the requirements for "low-risk" environmental assessments (EAs). As a result, the EAs underway on these projects are no longer required under the former CEA Act, and the assessment of the Former Lorado Uranium Mill Site Rehabilitation Project was cancelled.
> View EAs transitioning to Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) (CNSC)

Dust from waste rock left from former Lorado uranium mine causes concern
A man from Uranium City, in Saskatchewan's north, is concerned about the slow pace of environmental work in the area. Wayne Augier said people are using roads built with rock waste from abandoned uranium mines and locals are driving across an old mine site on a daily basis. Augier said he is concerned about potential health risks from the dust kicked up by the traffic. "We get, especially this time of the year, we get winds up to 60, 70 knots," Augier told CBC News. "That's a pretty powerful wind."
The nearby Lorado Mine was closed in 1960 and the waste rock was never tended to. Recently, the Saskatchewan Research Council began some work on another mine, 25 kilometres away from Uranium City. Augier said he believes the more immediate priority is closer to the community, where people live. (CBC Oct. 27, 2010)

Public comment invited on draft guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment of Former Lorado Mine Site Rehabilitation Project
The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) is proposing to rehabilitate the former Lorado Uranium mill site just north of Lake Athabasca. The project involves the design and implementation of stabilization measures to minimize human health risks associated with radon emissions and gamma radiation levels. It also involves ensuring that containment measures are effective in controlling the migration of contaminants from the mill tailings and Nero Lake to the environment.
Public comments are due by January 8, 2010.
> View 2009-041, Saskatchewan Research Council - Lorado Uranium Mill Site Rehabilitation Project (Ministry of Environment, Saskatchewan)
> View Saskatchewan Research Council Former Lorado Uranium Mill Site Rehabilitation Project (CNSC)

CNSC extends exemptions for former Gunnar and Lorado uranium mine sites
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), following a one-day public hearing (December 10, 2009), announced its decision to extend the Gunnar and Lorado Mine Sites exemption from Nuclear Safety and Control Act licensing requirements, for a period of 40 months.
> Download CNSC Notice of Public Hearing, Oct. 9, 2009 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Dec. 10, 2009 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Dec. 29, 2009
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision

CNSC starts screening level environmental assessment on former Lorado mine rehabilitation project (Saskatchewan)
On May 15, 2009, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced that it has received a project description from the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) for the rehabilitation of the former Lorado Uranium Mill Site located in Northern Saskatchewan. Before the Commission may consider a decision on licensing under the NSCA regarding SRC's proposal, a screening level environmental assessment (EA) must be completed in compliance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
> View Saskatchewan Research Council Former Lorado Uranium Mill Site Rehabilitation Project (CNSC)

Owner identified for former Lorado uranium mine
Calgary-based oil and gas company Encana has been identified as the current owner of the former Lorado uranium mine and mill site in Northern Saskatchewan. The company is now investigating the site to assess required reclamation measures. (CBC Aug. 26, 2004)

 

Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project (Saskatchewan)

> Aerial view (Google Maps)

Canada's federal government still fails to cover its share in ballooning reclamation cost at former Crown-operated Gunnar uranium mine site
The total price tag was estimated at under $25 million when the federal government agreed to pay for half the cleanup of a radioactive Cold-War-era uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan. But a decade later, the expected cost for remediation of the remote Gunnar mine has swelled to about 10 times that and Ottawa isn't offering any more money, even as the province starts this summer to remediate millions of tonnes of tailings and waste rock left when the mine closed in 1964.
The Gunnar mine near Uranium City opened in 1955. The federal, Crown-operated Eldorado Mining and Refining Corp. supplied refined uranium yellowcake that was an essential ingredient for U.S. atomic weapons. Over the course of its operation, the mine produced 4.4 million tonnes of tailings and 2.2 million tonnes of waste rock. It also left behind an open pit more than 100 metres deep. (CBC May 14, 2017)

CNSC removes hold point for Gunnar mine site remediation project
Following a public hearing on September 22, 2016, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced today its decision to remove the Gunnar Remediation Project Phase 2 regulatory hold point. This will allow Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to proceed with the remediation of the other site aspects, including the waste rock, open pit and mine openings, at the Gunnar legacy uranium mine site in Northern Saskatchewan. (CNSC Nov. 30, 2016)
> Download Record of Decision , Nov. 29, 2016 (PDF)

CNSC holds hearing on Gunnar mine site remediation project
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a public hearing (September 22, 2016) to consider an application from the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to remove the hold point for Phase 2 of the Gunnar Remediation Project. The Gunnar site, located in northern Saskatchewan, is being remediated by the SRC under a CNSC waste nuclear substance licence. The licence includes a regulatory hold point that requires SRC to receive approval from the Commission before proceeding with Phase 2 of the project.
Requests to intervene must be filed by August 22, 2016.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing, June 24, 2016 (PDF)
> Download Public Hearing Transcript, Sep. 22, 2016 (369k PDF)

Cost for reclamation of former Gunnar uranium mine site to exceed CDN$ 250 million, 10 times estimate
The cost of cleaning up an abandoned uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan is expected to exceed $250 million, more than 10 times the original estimate - and the provincial and federal governments are divided on how the burden will be shared.
Located on the northern shore of Lake Athabasca near Uranium City, about 800 kilometres north of Saskatoon, the Gunnar uranium mine was abandoned in 1964. The site remained littered with radioactive tailings, asbestos-laced buildings and other waste for more than half a century. The original mine operator, Gunnar Mining Limited, no longer exists.
In 2006, the federal and provincial governments signed an agreement to rehabilitate the site and reduce further ground and water contamination. The project was originally estimated to cost no more than $24.6 million and take 17 years, according to Natural Resources Canada documents.
The cost of environmental and engineering studies, the remoteness of the site and the complexity of cleaning up radioactive areas caused the budget to expand, according to the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), which the provincial government contracted to clean up the site. The total project budget is now estimated to be $268 million, of which $13 million is earmarked for rehabilitating other contaminated sites in the area, according to the provincial government.
While the initial $24.6 million was split 50-50, the federal government appears to have dug in its heels. A request for an interview with Natural Resources Canada was denied. Spokeswoman Caitlin Workman provided an emailed statement instead. "The Province of Saskatchewan is the owner of the Gunnar site and is responsible for developing remediation plans, funding and management of the remediation project," the statement said. Natural Resources Canada provided $1.13 million to the province in 2007 and will pay out an additional 11.17 million when the CNSC approves SRC's plan for implementing its proposals for cleaning up the site, according to the statement. (The StarPhoenix Oct. 16, 2015)

CNSC holds hearing on Gunnar mine site remediation project
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held a public hearing (September 30, 2015) to consider the Saskatchewan Research Council's (SRC) application for the release of the Gunnar Remediation Project Phase 2 hold point regarding the design plan and options for the remediation of the tailings deposits at the Gunnar Legacy Uranium Mine site, located in Northern Saskatchewan.
Requests to intervene must be filed by August 19, 2015.
> Download: Notice of Public Hearing, July 8, 2015 (PDF)
> Download: Hearing Agenda (PDF) · Revised Hearing Agenda (PDF)
> Download: Hearing Transcript Sep. 30, 2015 (PDF)

On Nov. 27, 2015, CNSC announced its decision to remove the Gunnar Remediation Project phase 2 hold point as it pertains to the remediation of the tailings deposits. The removal of the hold point on the existing Waste Nuclear Substance Licence allows the SRC to carry out remedial activities as part of phase 2 of the remediation project.
> View CNSC release Nov. 27, 2015
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision , Nov. 27, 2015 (407k PDF)

Federal Government fails to contribute its share in additional reclamation cost at former Gunnar uranium mine site
In 2006, the governments of Saskatchewan and Canada entered into an agreement to equally share the cost of remediating the site, estimated at that time to total $24.6 million - $12.3 million for each level of government. However, as it often happens, the costs have spiralled. The remediation task has proven far more complex than originally anticipated. To date, $60 million has been spent, mostly by Saskatchewan. Regrettably, the federal government has not signalled a willingness to pick up any of these extra costs.
Moreover, the most challenging parts of the cleanup and remediation work at Gunnar still remain to be done. These include dealing with a 100-metre deep, heavily contaminated, waterfilled and mined-out pit that's very near the shore of Lake Athabasca. As well, more than two million cubic metres of radioactive waste rock from uranium mining operations are a significant source of radium contamination to Zeemel Bay in Lake Athabasca. The most difficult remediation issues are presented by 4.4 million tonnes of radioactive tailings that were deposited as waste over a 70-hectare land area near the lake. Surface and groundwater that flows through those tailings picks up contaminants, which are then carried into Lake Athabasca.
Nevertheless, the mess left behind at Gunnar is so large that even when the planned remediation work is complete, the site will still be quite badly polluted. For example, two bays of Lake Athabasca will have elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and uranium.
And the cost for taxpayers will be high, too. The Saskatchewan government is poised to post a liability of more than $200 million on the provincial books just for the Gunnar mine cleanup. (The StarPhoenix Feb. 22, 2015)

CNSC approves licence application for decommissioning of former Gunnar uranium mine site
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a public hearing (November 6, 2014) to consider the conclusions of the Environmental Assessment (EA) Report and the Saskatchewan Research Council's (SRC) application to obtain a 10 year Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for the Gunnar Remediation Project, located in northern Saskatchewan. As required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012), the Commission must make a decision on the proposed EA Report before rendering its licensing decision.
Requests to intervene must be filed by October 6, 2014.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing, July 31, 2014 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Nov. 6, 2014 (PDF)

On Jan. 15, 2015, CNSC issued a 10-year Waste Nuclear Substance Licence to the SRC, valid from January 14, 2015 to November 30, 2024.
> View CNSC release Jan. 15, 2015
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, Jan. 14, 2015 · Erratum Feb. 2, 2015 (PDF)

CNSC grants exemption for former Gunnar uranium mine site
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has granted an exemption from the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) for the Gunnar Closed Mine Site in northern Saskatchewan. The decision exempts the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), who currently manages the site on behalf of the Province of Saskatchewan, from holding a licence to possess, manage and store nuclear substances at the Gunnar site until December 31, 2016.
> View CNSC release Apr. 25, 2013

Saskatchewan government commits more money for Gunnar mine site clean up
The Saskatchewan government has committed an additional $36.2 million for the clean up of an abandoned Gunnar uranium mine site in northern Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Research council who has been looking after the project for the last four years have identified additional remediation work required. The federal government is expected to commit equal funding to the Gunnar clean-up. (Global Regina Feb. 25, 2011)

CNSC orders Saskatchewan Research Council to assess and eliminate safety risks identified at former Gunnar mine site
On June 21, 2010, the CNSC announced that an order was issued on June 18, 2010 to the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The order required SRC to immediately: The order was issued based the results of an inspection conducted on June 8, 2010, which confirmed the continued deterioration of the former Gunnar site and the potential risk to persons accessing the site without authorization. The Gunnar mine site is located south of Uranium City, in northern Saskatchewan. The order will be closed when the above is completed and approved by the CNSC.
> Download CNSC order June 18, 2010 (PDF)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (the Commission) is providing Saskatchwwan Research Council (SRC) with an opportunity to be heard on the Designated Officer Order issued for the Gunnar mine site on June 18, 2010.
> Download Notice of Opportunity to be Heard, July 5, 2010 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript July 5, 2010 (PDF)

On July 26, 2010, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its decision to replace the Designated Officer Order issued to Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), on June 18, 2010, with a Commission Order.
> View CNSC release July 26, 2010
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision

CNSC to hold hearing on extension of exemptions for former Gunnar and Lorado mine sites
> View here

Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project Environmental Assessment to continue as a Comprehensive Study
On February 2, 2009, Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced that a comprehensive study is the most appropriate type of environmental assessment for the Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project in Northern Saskatchewan. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will now continue the comprehensive study and submit a comprehensive study report to the Minister of the Environment. At that time the public will have an opportunity to comment on the findings and recommendations of the report before the Minister renders his final decision.

CNSC recommends continuation of environmental assessment for former Gunnar mine site rehabilitation
On Oct. 28, 2008, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its decision to recommend to the federal Minister of the Environment that the environmental assessment of Saskatchewan Research Council's (SRC) proposed project to develop and implement a plan to rehabilitate the former Gunnar mine site be continued as a comprehensive study. The Minister of the Environment must now decide on this recommendation.
> View CNSC release Oct. 28, 2008

CEAA announces availability of Participant Funding for Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is making available $20,000 under its Participant Funding Program to assist groups and/or individuals to take part in the environmental assessment of the proposed Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project.
The Saskatchewan Research Council, on behalf of the Governments of Canada and of Saskatchewan, is proposing to clean-up and rehabilitate the former Gunnar mine site, located on the north shore of Lake Athabasca in northern Saskatchewan.
To receive funding, successful applicants must participate in the environmental assessment of the project. Funding applications received by the Agency by October 6, 2008 will be considered.

> View Public Notice, Sep. 2, 2008

CNSC to hold hearing on Environmental Assessment Track Report regarding the proposal to develop and implement a plan to rehabilitate the former Gunnar mine site
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a one-day public hearing (September 17, 2008) to consider the Environmental Assessment Track Report (Track Report) regarding the proposal by Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to develop and implement a plan to rehabilitate the former Gunnar mine site. The Commission will also consider the Project-Specific Guidelines and Comprehensive Study Scoping Document (Scoping Document).
Requests to intervene must be filed by August 18, 2008.

> Download Notice of Public Hearing, June 26, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Sep. 17, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision (PDF)

CEAA invites Public Comments on the Draft Project-Specific Guidelines and Scoping Document for the Proposed Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project (Saskatchewan)
The public is invited to comment on the draft Project-Specific Guidelines and Scoping Document for the cooperative assessment, which incorporates the respective requirements of the federal and provincial processes. The document identifies key issues and studies required in the Environmental Impact Assessment to be conducted by the SRC.
Comments must be received no later than May 2, 2008.

> View Former Gunnar Mining Limited site rehabilitation project proposal (CNSC)
> Download CEAA Public Notice March 28, 2008 (PDF)

Environmental assessment commenced for the Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project (Saskatchewan)
On June 22, 2007, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced the commencement of an environmental assessment for the Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project.
> View Notice of Commencement (CEAA)

 

Government of Canada and Province of Saskatchewan launch first phase of cleanup of legacy uranium mines

On April 2, 2007, Canada's New Government and the Province of Saskatchewan announced the first phase of the cleanup of Saskatchewan's abandoned uranium mine sites. The total cost, which the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan will share, will be $24.6 million. The clean-up project is the result of an agreement between the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan to address the issue of "Cold War legacy mines," which were small, short-term mining operations conducted in the 1950s and 1960s primarily in the vicinity of Uranium City in northern Saskatchewan.

Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan to cost-share remediation of Gunnar and Lorado uranium mines

On June 17, 2005, the Government of Canada announced that it will share the cost of remediating certain uranium mining facilities in northern Saskatchewan with that provincial government. The clean-up costs will be determined as a Memorandum of Agreement is developed between the two governments in the coming months.
The Gunnar and Lorado uranium mines were active from the 1950s until the early 1960s. When the sites were closed, there was no regulatory framework in place to appropriately contain and treat the waste, which led to negative environmental impacts on local soils and lakes. The Gunnar and Lorado mines were operated by the private sector; however, the companies that produced the uranium no longer exist. A private company that retains ownership of a portion of the Lorado site will be contributing to the uranium mine clean-up with the Government of Canada and the province of Saskatchewan.
The project will be carried out in three phases. Phase 1 will last a minimum of two years and consists of an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and an application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a project license. Phase 2, which will last at least three years, involves the actual site clean-up. Phase 3 consists of monitoring the site. (Government of Canada news release June 17, 2005)

Saskatchewan continues to urge federal funding for cleanup of abandoned uranium mine sites

In an 'Update Report' to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), the Province of Saskatchewan is continuing to press for the federal government to accept its responsibilities for cleaning up former uranium mine sites in northern Saskatchewan.
The comprehensive report makes recommendations on next steps for ensuring continued environmental protection and public safety at two of the most prominent former uranium mine sites - Lorado and Gunnar, as well as continued progress toward their remediation.

> View Sask. Northern Affairs release Feb. 4, 2004

Federal minister says he will consider helping clean up abandoned Saskatchewan uranium mines

After years of federal and provincial bickering over cleaning up abandoned uranium mines in northern Saskatchewan, new federal natural resources minister John Efford has said Ottawa will consider kicking in some cash. (CP Jan. 14, 2004)

Report demands federal funding of abandoned uranium mines' cleanup in northern Saskatchewan

A paper prepared by the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy urgently calls for the federal Government of Canada to accept its responsibility for the cleanup of the abandoned uranium mine and mill sites in Northern Saskatchewan.

From the Conclusion:

"The uranium industry of the Cold War-era was not merely regulated by, but was actively promoted by, the Government of Canada to achieve its foreign and defence policy ends. The legacy of the Government of Canada’s policy is a forty-year-old environmental and human health and safety risk. The Government of Canada’s continued refusal to accept the financial responsibility for that which it brought into existence is not only irresponsible when one considers the historical context of the development and operation of these sites, but is sadly out of step with Canada’s progressive record on human and environmental health and safety issues internationally, a matter of some pride to Canadians. It is high time for the Government of Canada to take environmental risks in northern Saskatchewan as seriously as it does those elsewhere in the world."
Righting Past Wrongs: The Case for a Federal Role in Decommissioning and Reclaiming Abandoned Uranium Mines in Northern Saskatchewan, by Ian Peach and Don Hovdebo, SIPP Public Policy Paper #21, Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy, Regina, December 16, 2003, 26 pp.
> Download full report (380k PDF)

 

Communities demand start of cleanup for abandoned uranium mine sites

The Saskatchewan Association of Northern Communities Services Inc. (New North - SANC Services Inc. ) is calling for the start of the cleanup of the abandoned uranium mine sites. One year after the release of a report describing the hazards resulting from the sites, Federal-Provincial negotiations are ongoing still. (Radio Canada Sep. 24, 2003)

 

Saskatchewan demands federal commitment for cleanup of abandoned uranium mine sites

Saskatchewan is pressing the federal government to take full financial responsibility for cleanup of 42 abandoned uranium mine sites in northern Saskatchewan.
> View Sask. Northern Affairs News Release April 4, 2003

 

New report shows abandoned uranium mines a concern in northern Saskatchewan

A 170-page report on abandoned mines in northern Saskatchewan, released by the province on Sep. 24, 2002, states that many of the sites pose "severe public safety hazards and possible long-term environmental concerns."
The report says "unconfined tailings deposits" from the abandoned Gunnar uranium mine, amounting to 4.4-million tonnes, have made their way into Lake Athabasca since the operation was shut down in 1964.
The report entitled 'An Assessment of Abandoned Mines in Northern Saskatchewan', also raises serious concerns about the Lorado Mill site, about eight kilometres south of Uranium City. The mill was used to treat uranium ore from the Lorado mine and smaller satellite mines in the region. It says tailings at the site, which cover an area of about 14 hectares, are leaching into two nearby lakes. A 1976 study showed that discharges of waste into Nero Lake had severely affected water quality. (Canadian Press, September 24, 2002)

> See also:
Saskatchewan Govt. release Sep. 24, 2002
Feature Article From Saskatchewan Environment

 

Search for owners of abandoned uranium mines near Uranium City complete

The Federal Government has completed its search for the owners of 39 abandoned uranium mines near Uranium City in Saskatchewan. Experts say it will cost at least 25 million dollars to clean up the sites, but Natural Resources Canada won't say if it has found any corporations with links to the abandoned mines. Ottawa and the province say they're talking about who will pay for the restoration of the land, meanwhile. (CP April 25, 2002)

 


Beaverlodge mine decommissioning (Saskatchewan)

CNSC issues license renewal for decommissioned Beaverlodge mine site (Saskatchewan)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a public hearing (April 3-4, 2013) to consider Cameco Corporation's (Cameco) application to renew, for a period of 10 years, its Waste Facility Operating Licence for the decommissioned Beaverlodge mine site, located in northern Saskatchewan.
Requests to intervene must be filed with the Secretary of the Commission by March 4, 2013.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing, Dec. 19, 2012 (PDF)
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, March 7, 2013 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript April 3, 2013 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript April 4, 2013 (PDF)
On May 27, 2013, CNSC announced its decision to renew for a period of 10 years Cameco Corporation's Waste Facility Operating Licence for its decommissioned Beaverlodge mine and mill site.
> View CNSC release May 27, 2013
> Download Record of Proceedings

CNSC announces availability of participant funding on licence renewal for decommissioned Beaverlodge uranium mine

Deadline for submission of applications is December 7, 2012.
> View CNSC participant funding opportunities

CNSC holds un-hearing on license renewal for decommissioned Beaverlodge mine and mill site

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in September to consider Cameco Corporation's application to renew its Waste Facility Operating Licence (WFOL) for a six month period from November 30, 2012 to May 31, 2013 for the decommissioned Beaverlodge mine and mill property (Beaverlodge).
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary to consider Cameco's request in this case. The hearing will be conducted by way of written submissions from CNSC staff and Cameco.
> Download Notice of Hearing, Sep. 12, 2012 (CNSC)
On Sep. 25, 2012, CNSC approved the requested license renewal.
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, Sep. 25, 2012

CNSC holds hearing on license renewal for decommissioned Beaverlodge mine and mill site

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a public hearing (Feb. 18, 2009 - date revised) on the application by Cameco Corporation to renew its licence to possess, manage and store nuclear substances associated with the past operations of the decommissioned Beaverlodge mining and milling facility. Beaverlodge properties are located near Uranium City, Saskatchewan. Cameco has requested a five-year licence term.
In addition, Cameco will make an application to the Province of Saskatchewan to have certain minor satellite properties accepted into their institutional control program governed by their Reclaimed Industrial Sites Act. Therefore as part of this licensing application, Cameco is also requesting that Appendix A of its nuclear substance possessing licence be amended accordingly to exempt these minor satellite properties.
Requests to intervene must be filed by December 15, 2008.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing, Aug. 27, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Licence renewal application Aug. 2008 (1.9M PDF - Cameco)
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, Oct. 27, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, Dec. 23, 2008 (PDF)

Following a public hearing held on February 18, 2009 in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced on March 16, 2009, its decision to exempt from licensing five decommissioned satellite mine sites at the Beaverlodge Mine and Mill Site. The five exempted sites will be released into the Saskatchewan's Institutional Control Program.
The Commission did not make a decision on Cameco's application to renew its licence. The Commission adjourns the hearing to the fall 2009. Cameco has to provide, for the Commission's consideration, a complete synthesis report with details on long-term activities for the requested three-year term licence. The specific date for the continuation of the hearing will be announced later. In order to consider the licence renewal application at a later date, the Commission extends Cameco's licence until November 30, 2009.
> View CNSC release March 16, 2009
> Download Hearing Transcript Feb. 18, 2009 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision (PDF)

On Aug. 31, 2009, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced the resumption of the public hearing (November 5, 2009) on the application by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to renew its licence to possess, manage and store nuclear substances associated with the past operations of the decommissioned Beaverlodge mining and milling facility.
Following the one-day public hearing, CNSC announced on Nov. 30, 2009, its decision to renew, for a period of three years, Cameco's Waste Facility Operating Licence.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing, Aug. 31, 2009 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Nov. 5, 2009 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Nov. 30, 2009
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision

CNSC approves extension of expiry date of operating licence

On March 23, 2007, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its decision to amend the operating licence for Cameco Corporation's Beaverlodge waste facility located near Uranium City, Saskatchewan. This decision was made following a one-day public hearing held on January 25, 2007. The amended licence will be valid until March 31, 2009.

> Download Notice of Public Hearing, Nov. 20, 2006 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript, Jan. 25, 2007 (PDF)
> View CNSC release March 23, 2007
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, Jan. 25, 2007 (PDF)

CNSC issues Waste Facility Operating Licence for Beaverlodge mine and mill in spite of concern on observed environmental impacts

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (September 16, 2004 / February 24, 2005), issued to Cameco Corporation a licence to possess, manage and store nuclear substances associated with the past operation and decommissioning of the Beaverlodge Mining facility located in Northern Saskatchewan. Moreover, the Commission revoked the existing Uranium Mine Decommissioning Licence for the site.
The decision was taken in spite of concern on the relatively high incidence of deformities observed in fish in the vicinity of the site:
"[...] CNSC staff stated that the current risks to people and biota are generally very low. CNSC staff expressed concern, however, about the trends in the data and the difficulty in determining what may happen in the long term. CNSC staff noted that the current risk to people is limited to a large extent by the limited access to the remote site. CNSC staff noted that the elevated levels of selenium are of particular concern because they are believed to have resulted in a relatively high incidence of deformities in fish, specifically the Lake Chub species. CNSC staff is of the view that the levels of selenium are also high enough to cause significant reproductive failure in the fish population, and that this risk would remain significant over the next several decades. [...] Despite these observed remaining adverse effects on biota in the vicinity of the site, CNSC staff concurs with Cameco’s proposed provisions for the protection of the environment under the proposed licence. [...]" (from the Record of Proceedings)

> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, Oct. 20, 2004 (PDF)
> Download Sep. 16, 2004 Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> Download Feb. 24, 2005 Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including the Reasons for Decision (April 5, 2005) (PDF)
> View CNSC release Apr. 5, 2005


Rabbit Lake mine decommissioning (Saskatchewan)

Aerial view: Google Maps

 

CNSC approves dam breaches for flooding of mined out Rabbit Lake mine

On Oct. 24, 2003, following a public hearing held on June 25, 2003 and September 24, 2003, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) confirmed that the CNSC Designated Officer may consider allowing the commencement of the breaching of the A-Zone dike at the Rabbit Lake Operation, following a review of the final project plans. The Commission further confirmed that the CNSC Designated Officer may consider and make a decision on a future application for the breaching of the D Zone dike that is anticipated during the period of the licence.
The Commission notes that the decision on whether to permit the remediation of the B-Zone pit, waste rock pile, and ore storage pad will be made by the Commission following a public hearing on the matter.

> View CNSC News release Oct. 24, 2003

> Download Updated Meeting Agenda: June 25, 2003 · Sep. 24, 2003 (PDF)
> Download CNSC Hearing Transcript: June 25, 2003 · Sep. 24, 2003 (PDF)
> Download CNSC Record of Proceedings, including the Reasons for Decision (PDF)

ICUC opposes proposed flooding of mined out Rabbit Lake mine

The Inter Church Uranium Committee (ICUC) opposes Cameco's proposal to flood the Rabbit Lake open pit mine by opening the dam that separates it from Wollaston Lake. Cameco already received a pre-license from CNSC to tear down the dam. ICUC fears that radioactive particles will move into the lake in the long term. (Radio Canada Aug. 11, 2003)

> View more Rabbit Lake issues


Cluff Lake decommissioning (Saskatchewan)

Aerial view: Google Maps

 

CNSC approves license renewal for Cluff Lake decommissioning

On July 22, 2009, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a one-day public hearing (June 10, 2009) approved AREVA Resources Canada Inc.'s application to renew the Uranium Mine Decommissioning Licence for the Cluff Lake Project for a ten-year licence term.

> Download Notice of Public Hearing, March 20, 2009 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript June 10, 2009 (PDF)
> View CNSC release July 22, 2009
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision

Road blockade against hiring policy for decommissioning of Cluff Lake mine

The road leading to the Cluff Lake Mine in the Northwest part of the Province of Saskatchewan, is under blockade by the Clearwater First Nation in La Loche, situated approximately 350 km north of Meadow Lake.
The Cluff Lake Mine is currently under decommissioning. The protesters are upset that Cogema Resources, Inc., did not hire one single person from La Loche which is the community closest to the mine site, although the mining company had previosly promised to hire Northerners.
The blockade is supported by the Chief in Council of Clearwater First Nation, Roy Cheecham, and the council. (Günter Wippel Aug. 29, 2004)
The road blockade was ended on Sep 5, 2004. (Radio Canada Sep. 5, 2004)

No Review Panel on Cluff Lake decommissioning

On April 15, 2004, the Minister of the Environment David Anderson announced that the decommissioning of the Cluff Lake Uranium Mine and Mill facility in Saskatchewan does not require further assessment by a review panel or mediator under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Minister referred the project, proposed by COGEMA Resources Inc., back to the federal responsible authority, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), for appropriate action.
> View CEAA release Apr. 15, 2004

CNSC issues decommissioning license for Cluff Lake

On July 20, 2004, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (April 29 and June 9, 2004), issued a decommissioning licence for COGEMA Resources Inc.'s Cluff Lake Project located in Northern Saskatchewan.

> Download Notice of Public Hearing (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript April 29, 2004 (PDF)
> Download June 9, 2004 Updated Public Hearings Agenda (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript June 9, 2004 (PDF)
> View CNSC release July 20, 2004
> Download Record of Proceedings, including the Reasons for Decision, July 20, 2004 (PDF)

Cluff Lake decommissioning report open for public comment

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), has undertaken a comprehensive study of the Cluff Lake decommissioning project.
According to Cogema's proposal, the tailings management facility will be covered in-situ. One open pit will be backfilled and two others will be flooded. The remaining waste rock piles will be covered. Long term monitoring of the decommissioned facility will follow.
Comments from the public had to be received by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) no later than February 27, 2004.

> View CEAA release Jan. 28, 2004
> Download Comprehensive Study Report, Cluff Lake Decommissioning Project, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, December 2003

"Scope of Project and Assessment Report" released for Cluff Lake Decommissioning Project

COGEMA Resources Inc. (CRI) has applied to the Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) to decommission its Cluff Lake Uranium facility in northern Saskatchewan. AECB has released the final "Scope of Project and Assessment" document which will provide COGEMA Resources Inc. (CRI) with guidance and direction on preparing the environmental assessment report for the proposed decommissioning of the facility.
(AECB Update Oct. 20, 1999)

> View CNSC information on Environmental Assessment - Decommissioning of Cluff Lake Uranium Facility


ONTARIO

General · Elliot Lake · Madawaska · Unlicensed Ont. uranium mine and tailings sites
> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

General

Groups want governments to better track radioactive substances in Great Lakes

> View here

 

Unlicensed Ontario uranium mine and tailings sites

CNSC exempts Greyhawk and Agnew Lake closed uranium mines without tailings from licensing

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) approved an exemption from licensing the Greyhawk and Agnew Lake closed uranium mines without tailings. The two mines are located in Bancroft and Sudbury, Ontario, respectively.
> Download Notice of Hearing, May 1, 2012 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings,Including Reasons for Decision, May 11, 2012 (PDF)

 

CNSC issues license for old Elliot Lake tailings

On August 16, 2002, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day (April 18 / June 27, 2002) public hearing, issued to Rio Algom Limited, Toronto, Ontario a licence to operate a waste facility consisting of its Spanish-American, Milliken, Lacnor, Nordic/Buckles and Pronto sites in the area of Elliot Lake, Ontario.
> View CNSC Notice of Public Hearing (Feb. 11, 2002)
> View CNSC Public Hearing Agenda - Apr. 18, 2002
> Download Transcript of April 18, 2002, Hearing (PDF)
> Download Transcript of June 27, 2002, Hearing (PDF)
> View CNSC release Aug. 16, 2002 announcing decision
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Aug. 16, 2002 (200k PDF)

 

CNSC requests public comment on Elliot Lake Draft Environmental Assessment Report

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) invites public comment on the draft environmental assessment report for the proposed operation of a Radioactive Waste Facility consisting of the Rio Algom Limited Spanish-American, Milliken, Lacnor, Nordic/Buckles and Pronto sites in the area of Elliot Lake, Ontario.
The public comment period on the draft environmental assessment report closes on February 15, 2002.
> View CNSC Request for Public Comment (Jan. 18, 2002)

> View CNSC information on Environmental Assessment - Proposed Operation of a Radioactive Waste Facility in the Elliot Lake Area

 


Elliot Lake Uranium Tailings Decommissioning (Ontario)

Denison Tailings Basin (water covered), Aerial view: CDA (1995) · Google Maps

Spanish-American tailings (water covered), Aerial view: Google Maps

Milliken tailings, Aerial view: Google Maps

Panel tailings (water covered), Aerial view: Google Maps

Stanrock tailings, Aerial view: Google Maps

Stanleigh tailings (water covered), Aerial view: Google Maps

Pronto tailings, Aerial view: Google Maps

Lacnor tailings, Aerial view: Google Maps

Nordic tailings, Aerial view: Google Maps

Rio Algom Quirke Tailings (water covered):
Schematic profile · Aerial view Aug. 1999 (BHP Billiton) · Aerial view Google Maps

> See also: Elliot Lake Rehabilitation Information (Denison Environmental Services)

 

Independent Environmental Monitoring Program finds that public and environment at the former Elliot Lake uranium mine sites are safe

"The Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for 2015 confirm that the public and the environment around the Elliot Lake sites are safe and that there are no health impacts."
> View: Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: Elliot Lake historical sites (CNSC)

Bush fire near Quirke Lake uranium mill tailings deposit

Denison Mines Corp. informed the CNSC that a small bush fire had occurred near its licensed area. The Elliot Lake Fire Department and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry responded and extinguished the fire. The fire had no radiological impact, nor did it cause any impact to the health and safety of workers or the public. (CNSC May 25, 2016)

Increasing radium concentrations observed in water cover of Denison TMA-1 and Stanleigh tailings deposits

"Since decommissioning, conditions in the TMA basins have improved and basin water quality is generally at or near EIS-predicted levels. Water quality has continued to improve in recent years (2003 to 2007) based on decreasing concentrations of radium-226, sulphate, and uranium, as well as increasing pH levels, at most TMAs.
Exceptions were observed at Denison TMA-1 and Stanleigh TMA where radium-226 has been increasing in surface water at both TMAs, and pH has been decreasing at Denison TMA-1. The trends at Denison TMA-1 appear to be attributable to a step change that occurred in 2008, possibly associated with decreases in sulphate over time (i.e. since 2000) and/or the higher water levels in 2008 and 2009. At the Stanleigh TMA, increasing radium-226 concentrations since 2004 were associated with a decrease in sulphate concentrations within the basin; as aqueous sulphate concentrations decline, there is an increased dissolution of barium sulphate to which radium is associated, whereby radium is released from the tailings.
It is expected that radium concentrations in porewater will stabilize over time once the dissolution of barium sulphate re-equilibrates with aqueous sulphate concentrations. Assuming there are no new sources of radium to the TMA, radium concentrations in porewater should decline as the amount of soluble material in the tailings diffusion zone decreases." (excerpt from Conclusions)
> Download 2011 Serpent River Watershed State of the Environment Report , July 2011 (Denison Environmental Services)

Elevated radium concentrations found downstream from Denison tailings deposit assumed to be caused by "historically accumulated sediments"

"As noted in the previous SOE report (Minnow 2009a), the radium load within the Serpent River downstream of the Denison TMA discharge (D-5) was substantially greater than the loading from the Denison TMA or the upstream watershed (D-4) suggesting a radium source within the river.
In 2009, EcoMetrix conducted a study to investigate the difference in loadings within the River and found elevated radium-226 sediment concentrations (14 Bq/g) between stations D4 and D5. The barium and sulphate depth profiles in sediment and water (porewater and overlying water) mirrored the radium profiles, indicating that these profiles are likely caused by the settling/accumulation of historical treatment solids. The loadings from this area are consistent with the recovery of historically accumulated sediments releasing radium to the water column. Diffusion modelling indicated that radium-226 release from the sediment should decrease with time." (excerpt from Conclusions)
> Download 2011 Serpent River Watershed State of the Environment Report , July 2011 (Denison Environmental Services)

Back to the roots at Elliot Lake: Uranium Festival returns

Elliot Lake city council voted to return to its roots for a major municipal celebration: At the Dec. 12 meeting, council voted to accept the recommendation from the parks and recreation committee to change the name of the Jewel in the Wilderness Festival back to the Uranium Festival. The Uranium Festival was created in the 1970s by former mayor of Elliot Lake Roger Taylor. (Elliot Lake Standard Dec. 28, 2011)

CNSC invites comment on withheld 5 year report on the performance of Rio Algom's Elliot Lake Uranium Tailings Management Facilities

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a meeting on November 2, 2011 (rescheduled to February 16, 2012, then to March 29, 2012), where CNSC staff will present its year 5 report on the Rio Algom's Elliot Lake uranium tailings management facilities.
CNSC staff's submission will be available as of September 16, 2011. This document is not available on-line.
Written submissions must be filed with the Secretary of the Commission by March 13, 2012 (date revised twice).
> Download CNSC Notice Sep. 12, 2011 (PDF)
> Download CNSC Notice Sep. 27, 2011 (PDF)
> Download CNSC Notice Feb. 10, 2012 (PDF)

CNSC to hold un-hearing on request to perform work for installation of berms at the decommissioned Stanrock Mine near Elliot Lake, Ontario

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in September to consider Denison Mines Inc. (Denison)'s request to perform work at the decommissioned Stanrock mine and to make administrative changes to the current licence.
Denison is seeking approval from the Commission for an amendment to its decommissioning licence to allow the installation of two berms to stabilize and reinforce existing beaver dams. Denison also requested that some administrative changes be made to the licence, including changing the licensee's address and updating documentation referenced in the licence.
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary to consider Denison's request in this case. There is no opportunity for the public to participate.
> Download Notice of Hearing Sep. 10, 2010 (PDF - CNSC)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision

CNSC to hold un-hearing on Environmental Assessment (EA) Screening Report on installation of berms at the decommissioned Stanrock Mine near Elliot Lake, Ontario

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in September to consider the Environmental Assessment (EA) Screening Report relating to Denison Mines Incorporated’s request to perform work at the decommissioned Stanrock mine near Elliot Lake, Ontario. CNSC staff request the Commission to approve the EASR for the proposed installation of two berms to stabilize and reinforce existing beaver dams.
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary to consider the EASR in this case. There is no opportunity for the public to participate.
> Download Notice of Hearing Sep. 8, 2010 (PDF - CNSC)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision

CNSC invites public comment on Draft Environmental Assessment Screening Report on installation of berms at the decommissioning Stanrock Mine near Elliot Lake, Ontario

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) invites public comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) Screening Report for the proposed Installation of Berms at the Outlet of the Halfmoon Wetland by Denison Mines Inc. located at the Stanley Mine Site near Elliot Lake, Ontario.
The public comment period ends on February 2, 2010.
> View Request for Public Comment Jan. 14, 2010

CNSC holding unhearing on installation of berms at the outlet of the Halfmoon Wetland at the decommissioned Stanrock Mine near Elliot Lake, Ontario

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in December 2009 to consider the approval of the Environmental Assessment Guidelines for Denison Mines Inc.'s proposed project for the installation of berms at the outlet of the Halfmoon Wetland at the decommissioned Stanrock Mine near Elliot Lake, Ontario. The project will consist of the construction, installation and operation of two berms at the outlet of the Halfmooon wetland area.
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary to consider the modifications requested by Denison Mines Inc. (CNSC Dec. 10, 2009)
> Download CNSC Notice Dec. 10, 2009

CNSC starts Environmental Assessment on installation of berms to replace beaver dams at the decommissioned Stanrock Mine

On March 2, 2006, started the Environmental Assessment on the proposed installation of berms at Denison Mines Inc.'s decommissioned Stanrock Mine. The berms would replace the existing beaver dams that control water levels in the marsh area between Orient Lake and Halfmoon Lake. The sediments in the marsh area were found to contain nuclear substances in treatment sludges and the marsh area exhibited elevated surface gamma levels.
> View project description (CNSC)

CNSC starts Environmental Assessment on Rio Algom Limited's proposal to replace Stanleigh Mine water treatment plant

Rio Algom Ltd. has proposed to replace the existing sand filtration treatment plant located at the Stanleigh Mine with a system similar to those used at the Quirke, Panel, Nordic and Pronto sites. The project involves demolishing the existing treatment plant, construction of a new water treatment plant, the construction of a settling pond, and the construction of a settling pond dam and spillway. The project also includes the operation of these newly constructed physical works.

> Download Project Introduction Report: Stanleigh Mine Treatment Facility , Dec. 2005 (5M PDF)

Environmental assessment start date: January 19, 2006.
CNSC held a closed (!) hearing on the Environmental Assessment Guidelines on March 30, 2006. CNSC approved the Environmental Assessment Guidelines on April 25, 2006.

> View CNSC announcement Jan. 25, 2006
> Download Notice of Hearing, March 23, 2006 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript March 30, 2006 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, April 25, 2006 (PDF)

Following a hearing held on March 7, 2007, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its conclusion that Rio Algom Limited's proposed project to replace its existing effluent treatment plant at the decommissioned Stanleigh Mine is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, taking into account mitigation measures identified in the Environmental Assessment Screening Report.
> Download Notice of Hearing, March 1, 2007 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Mar. 9, 2007
> Download Hearing Transcript Mar. 7, 2007 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Mar. 7, 2007 (PDF)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a one-day public hearing (May 16, 2007), approved the application by Rio Algom Limited to replace the existing effluent treatment plant at the decommissioned Stanleigh Mine located near the City of Elliot Lake, Ontario.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing, Mar. 14, 2007 (PDF)
> View CNSC release May 22, 2007
> Download Hearing Transcript May 16, 2007 (PDF)
> Download Summary Record of Proceedings and Decision, May 16, 2007 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Aug. 21, 2007 (PDF)

CNSC renews Rio Algom's license for its Elliot Lake tailings

On Dec. 9, 2005, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (Aug. 17 / Oct. 19, 2005) approved the application by Rio Algom Ltd for the renewal of its licence to operate uranium mine waste sites located near Elliot Lake, Ontario, for an indefinite period.

> Download CNSC Notice of Public Hearing (Jun 6, 2005) (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Aug. 17, 2005 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Oct. 19, 2005 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Dec. 9, 2005
> Download Record of Proceedings, including the Reasons for Decision Dec. 9, 2005 (PDF)

CNSC amends decommissioning license of Rio Algom's Quirke, Panel and Stanleigh Mine Sites

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held a two-day public hearing (February 4, 2004 / April 28, 2004) on the application by Rio Algom Ltd. to amend its existing Waste Facility Operating Licence to include the licenced areas from its three Uranium Mine Decommissioning Licences, representing the Quirke, Panel and Stanleigh Mine Sites, and for the subsequent revocation of these licences in order to consolidate all of Rio Algom’s licenced facilities under one licence.

> Download CNSC Notice of Public Hearing (Dec. 1, 2003) (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Feb. 4, 2004 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Apr. 28, 2004 (PDF)
> View CNSC release June 3, 2004
> Download CNSC Record of Proceedings, including the Reasons for Decision (June 3, 2004) (PDF)

CNSC issues decommissioning licenses for Denison and Stanrock Mine Sites

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a one-day public hearing on January 8, 2004, issued decommissioning licences to Denison Energy Inc. for the Denison and Stanrock Mine Sites located in Elliot Lake, Ontario.
Further to a proposed corporate reorganization, Denison Energy Inc. had applied for revocation of the Uranium Mine Decommissioning Licences for these mine sites. Denison Mines Inc., a new corporate entity, had applied for the issuance of licences of the same type and on the same terms and conditions as the licences previously held by Denison Energy Inc.
During the hearing, the city of Elliot Lake raised serious concerns on the adequacy of the proposed financial guarantees provided by the new entity, given that it is not required to post letters of credit or other substantial guarantees, as required from other licensees.

> Download CNSC Notice of Public Hearing (17 Nov. 2003) (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Jan. 8, 2004 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Feb. 9, 2004
> Download CNSC Record of Proceedings, including the Reasons for Decision (PDF)

AECB approves amendments to Denison's Elliot Lake decommissioning plans

The Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) approved amendments to Denison Mines Ltd's Decommissioning Lincences for the Denison Mine and for the Stanrock Mine. The amendments reflect adjustments in the boundaries of the two mines. An additional amendment was approved to acknowledge the decommissioning work performed at the Denison Mine site over the last six years. (AECB News release 99-06 , April 23, 1999)
The boundary changes "result from spills which occurred in the late 1950s and 1960s which resulted in some contamination to wetland areas. The company plans to leave the contaminated area undisturbed since its removal would likely cause more environmental damage than leaving it". (Minutes of the 288th Meeting of the Atomic Energy Control Board - PDF format)

AECB approves tailings disposal at Elliot Lake

On June 26, 1998, the Atomic Energy Control Board announced the approval for issuing a decommissioning license for Denison Mines Ltd.'s Stanrock uranium mill tailings at Elliot Lake. This is the final license required for the closure of the Elliot Lake mining facility.

Review Panel approves water cover concept for permanent tailings disposal at Elliot Lake

The report of the federal environmental assessment panel reviewing the decommissioning of the large uranium mine tailings management areas near Elliot Lake, Ontario, was published on 21 June 1996. The panel recommends that the proposals made by the proponents (Rio Algom Ltd. and Denison Mines Ltd.) should form the basis for developing a decommissioning license. This would be the first license for a permanent disposal of large-scale uranium tailings with a soft non-durable cover worldwide.

Copies of the panel report can be obtained from:

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard
Hull, Québec, Canada K1A 0H3
Tel. +1-819-994-2578, Fax: +1-819-994-1469, E-mail: info@ceaa.gc.ca

> View Summary of the Panel Report (8k, CEAA).
> Check for additional information on the review (CEAA).

For more information on the review contact:
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Brian Torrie, Panel Manager
13th floor, Fontaine Building
200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard
Hull, Québec, Canada K1A 0H3
Tel. +1-819-997-6364, Fax: +1-819-994-1469, E-mail: info@ceaa.gc.ca

> View Natural Resources of Canada Press Release (April 2, 1997)

> For details of the decommissioning project see: Decommissioning of Elliot Lake Tailings


Madawaska mine decommissioning, Bancroft (Ontario)

CNSC to hold un-hearing on license revocation for decommissioned Madawaska uranium mine near Bancroft

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in July to consider CNSC staff's recommendation to revoke a licence currently issued to Madawaska Mines Limited (MML) to maintain and manage the Madawaska Decommissioned Mine Site located south of Bancroft, Ontario.
MML no longer exists on the corporate record [!]. Another company, EWL Limited (EWL), has applied for the issuance of a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence (WNSL) for the management of the Madawaska Decommissioned Mine Site for a period of ten years. This licence was issued on July 4, 2011 and will come into effect upon the revocation of the existing licence.
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary to consider CNSC staff's recommendation in this case. The hearing will be conducted by way of written submission from CNSC staff.
> Download Notice of Hearing, July 14, 2011 (PDF - CNSC)
CNSC revoked the license on July 28, 2011:
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, July 28, 2011 (PDF)


NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Port Radium · Rayrock · Unlicensed NWT uranium tailings sites
> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

Unlicensed NWT uranium tailings sites

CNSC exempts abandoned Indore Idle Mine site in the Northwest Territories from licensing in spite of safety risks

"Pursuant to section 7 of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and section 11 of the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission decided to exempt the Indore Idle Mine site in the Northwest Territories from CNSC licensing for the possession, management and storage of nuclear substances. The Commission concluded that the exemption would not pose an unreasonable risk to the environment or the health and safety of persons, pose an unreasonable risk to national security, or result in a failure to achieve conformity with measures of control and international obligations to which Canada has agreed. The exemption is for an indefinite period."
"In making its decision in respect of the Indore idle mine site, the Commission notes that, while the site is in a remote and generally inaccessible location, there remain some unsealed openings to the mine that could pose conventional public safety risks. While the site will be exempt from licensing under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, public safety will continue to be regulated by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada ."
(Minutes of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Meeting held Thursday, December 1, 2005)


Port Radium decommissioning (Northwest Territories)

Aerial view: Google Maps

> Port Radium Mine (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada)

 

Déline says no to further uranium development

> See here

Remediation work at former Port Radium mine now in full swing, but 800,000 tonnes of tailings to remain submerged in Great Bear Lake

Work to cleanup Port Radium began in earnest at the start of the summer and it should conclude by September's end. Between 1930 and 1982, three mines operated at the site producing a total of 1.7 million tonnes of tailings as well as a mountain of waste ranging from old vehicles to scrap metal - much of which will remain radioactive for years to come.
"A lot of the tailings ended up in Great Bear Lake," said Julie Ward, Sahtu region project manager with the Contaminants and Remediation Directorate. "There are about 800,000 tonnes worth of tailings in the water around LaBine Point." Anything that's already in the lake will be left there, she said, adding it's safer than trying to remove the waste. "The water quality is good except right near the shore," she said.
Deline's Chief Raymond Tutcho, however, is unconvinced the submerged tailings aren't having adverse affects on the fish in Great Bear Lake or the people of his community. (Northern News Services, Aug. 27, 2007)

Contract awarded for remediation work at former Port Radium mine

A C$6.8 million contract for remediation work at the former Port Radium mine has been awarded by the federal Department of Public Works and Government Services to Aboriginal Engineering of Yellowknife. Remediation work will involve demolition of the standing structures, cleaning and stabilizing waste material on site and sealing mine openings. Initial mobilization of vehicles and equipment into Déline will begin shortly. The remediation stage of the project should be completed by the fall. (Northern News Services, Jan. 8, 2007)

Report into former Port Radium uranium mine recommends immediate remediation

On September 6, 2005, Déline community members were given the findings of a five-year effort to examine the health and environmental impacts of the government-owned radium and uranium mine that operated at Port Radium from 1931 to 1960. Studies show the mine has had an impact on water quality at the site and in the immediate vicinity of Great Bear Lake. Elevated metal levels have been found in soil at the site. But the report says studies show the water and fish in Great Bear Lake are safe for people to consume. The report calls for sealing mine openings, safely disposing of equipment and demolishing structures on the site, dealing with exposed tailings, which is refuse from ore processing, and continuing environmental monitoring. The federal government and community representatives will now discuss how to act on the report's recommendation that the Port Radium site be remediated as soon as possible. Also up for discussion is compensation for residents, which wasn't part of the report's mandate. (CP Sep 6, 2005)

Uranium exposure insufficient to cause cancer in Déline workers

> See here

Federal Government provides funding for Port Radium mine cleanup

For 2005-2006, CDN$138.7 million has been committed to remediation, risk management and care and maintenance of 97 higher-risk sites identified under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan. The Port Radium mine is among the sites included.
> View Environment Canada release Aug. 2, 2005 · Backgrounder

Agreement reached on assessment of impacts from Port Radium mine tailings

After 60 years of uncertainty, the community of Déline has inked a deal with Ottawa to investigate the effects radioactive tailings from the defunct Port Radium mine may have had on the people and environment. Robert Nault, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Déline Chief Raymond Tutcho signed a three-year $6.7 million action plan Feb. 26, 2003, hoping to shed light on further clean-up and monitoring requirements and future community health needs. (Northern News Service Mar 10, 2003)
Action Plan To Address Concerns Raised By The Community Of Déline About Risks To Human And Environmental Health From Exposure To Radiation And Heavy Metals From The Former Port Radium Mine, Great Bear Lake (NWT), December 2002: View HTML · Download PDF (INAC)

Fort Norman residents call for cleanup of uranium site

The Fort Norman community wants the federal government to clean up uranium it says remains from Tulita's days as a pit-stop for barges hauling the ore up the Great Bear River. Residents believe soiled land and cancer are the legacy of the Port Radium uranium mine, operated from the 1930s until the 1940s. When the mine was in operation, Tulita was used as a depot for uranium because of its place near the intersection of the Mackenzie and the Great Bear River. When the mine shut down, people built homes along the banks of the Mackenzie where the uranium depots once stood. The community wants compensation and the uranium cleaned up. (Northern News Services Feb 18, 2002)

Federal government signs commitment to clean up/contain Port Radium mine site

The federal government has recently signed a commitment with the Déline Dene Band to begin the clean up of an estimated 1.7 million tonnes of radioactive mine tailings in Port Radium. The uranium mine was abandoned in 1960. It is located on the shore of Great Bear Lake (Sahtu). (Northern News Services Oct. 25, 1999)
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Bob Nault met with Chief Leroy Andre and the community of Déline Jan. 19, 2000, to pledge the government's commitment to clean up or contain the uranium tailings at the Port Radium mine.
A forum has been established called the Canada/Déline Uranium Table with a budget of CDN$235,000. It is in the early stages of establishing a plan of action which will outline the appropriate studies and investigations, to be followed by the cleanup and monitoring. (Northern News Services Jan. 24, 2000)

> See also Impacts of Uranium Mining at Port Radium, NWT, Canada


Rayrock mine decommissioning (Northwest Territories)

> Aerial View: Google Maps

Cleanup of former Rayrock uranium mine site after more than a decade found to be incomplete; tailings cover deteriorating

Federal monitors are taking a closer look at an abandoned Northwest Territories uranium mine that was supposed to be cleaned up 13 years ago, but still has some debris and radioactive waste on site. The defunct Rayrock mine site, located 74 kilometres northwest of Behchoko, N.W.T., in the Tlicho region, operated for only two years until 1959. It was cleaned up in 1996-97.
"Our monitoring has recently - in the last two to three years - indicated that some debris had been left on site," Ron Breadmore, an environmental scientist with the federal Indian and Northern Affairs Department , told CBC News. Breadmore said monitors found "some non-hazardous steel and building foundations, a small volume of asbestos, as well as a small volume of tailings." Under its licence with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Rayrock site has been inspected once a year for the last 10 years [but nothing was found?!]. The mine site has remained a source of concern for the Tlicho people, especially those living in Behchoko, since the mine was upstream from its drinking water supply.
During the original cleanup, buildings were torn down, machinery were removed, and two basins containing 71,000 tonnes of radioactive waste tailings were capped with one-metre thick caps of silt and clay. But Breadmore said the monitoring has revealed that parts of the clay caps have been deteriorating. "While it's performing quite well, over the years there has been some expected deterioration around the perimeter of the cap, indicating that we may have to go back in and look at some maintenance in those areas," he said.
Mining industry watchdog MiningWatch Canada has called for a moratorium on developing new uranium mines, saying there is no good way to deal with the radioactive tailings. "We don't really have a great permanent solution for these wastes," MiningWatch spokesman Ramsey Hart said. "In the case of the clay caps, they may age and dry, and changing climates and permafrost may affect the integrity of the clay cap," he added.
Federal monitors have also noticed elevated levels of uranium and other metals in some surface water at the Rayrock site, but Breadmore stressed that water testing has shown the mine has no effect on Behchoko's drinking water. As well, about 1,000 square metres of tailings were missed during the initial cleanup and remain exposed on the surface of the mine site.
The federal department would not release its monitoring reports on the Rayrock site, as they want to show those reports to Tlicho aboriginal leaders first. Breadmore said the department plans to conduct a detailed health risk assessment at Rayrock this summer, in part by collecting and analyzing samples of fish, small animals, vegetation and sediment from the site. (CBC Mar. 8, 2010)

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