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(last updated 30 Mar 2007)


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> See also: Current New Uranium Mining Projects - Canada


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Maisie Shiell wins silver award at Canadian Environment Awards 2004

At the Canadian Environment Awards 2004 Gala held on May 31, 2004, long-time uranium mining activist Maisie Shiell received a silver award in the environmental health community awards category. (CEA May 31, 2004)

Maisie Shiell receives individual environmentalist of the year award

On September 12, 2002, Maisie Shiell will receive the Saskatchewan Eco-Network award for individual environmentalist of the year. (ICUC Sep. 11, 2002)

Panel releases report on cumulative impacts of uranium developments

(Nov. 13, 1997) The Joint Federal-Provincial Review Panel on Uranium Mining Developments in Northern Saskatchewan released its report on the cumulative impacts of existing operations and proposed developments.

> View Panel report: executive summary · full report (130k)
For updates on the review process, see CEAA Cumulative Observations Panel Information

Uranium Mining Review Panel in Trouble

(Oct. 6, 1996) The Joint Federal-Provincial Review Panel on Uranium Mining Developments in Northern Saskatchewan experiences serious trouble. The panel was established in 1991, to review the impacts of the proposed uranium mining projects of Midwest, Dominique-Janine Extension for Cluff Lake, McClean Lake, McArthur River, and Cigar Lake.

Two of the initially five panel members quit the panel in the last weeks:

Moreover, several parties concerned withdrew from the review process during the last weeks:

The reasons for the resignations are deficiencies of the review process (the public hearings start without having received sufficient information on the environmental, health, and socioeconomic impacts of the mining projects; the failure to address concerns raised about the health impacts for the miners and about the intended pervious surround tailings management method, among others), as well as the attitude of the Saskatchewan government towards the Northern communities, where the mining projects are located (the native communities are not participating in the decision process on the projects located on their traditional homelands; the employment opportunities for northerners in the mining projects will be lower than required; and the communities shall receive no share in the expected revenue from the mining of these high-grade deposits). The disregard of the 1993 panel recommendations through the government is another matter of concern.

With these resignations, the review process on the large scale uranium mining projects in Northern Saskatchewan (with participation of French and German mining companies), experiences a severe damage.

View Panel general releases


McClean Lake project (Saskatchewan)

> View McClean Lake ownership details

> See also: recent McClean Lake issues

AECB approves mining of Sue open pits and tailings disposal in JEB pit

During its meeting on November 4, 1999, the AECB approved the operating licence for the Sue open pits and for subaqueous disposal of the resulting tailings in the JEB pit.
(View AECB news release Nov. 8, 1999 )

Opponents take legal action against McClean Lake licence

On July 21, 1999, the Inter-Church Uranium Committee filed papers in Saskatoon Federal Court intended to convince the government to quash the licence granted Cogema Resources Inc. by the Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) on June 17, 1999. One of the committee's primary concerns is the proximity of the tailings site to Fox Lake, which is connected to other water bodies in the area. There are fears the material in the waste site could leak into the surrounding ecosystem. (Saskatoon Star Phoenix July 23, 1999)
> View details

AECB approves operating licence for McClean Lake mill / Operation starts

The Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) approved the McClean Lake mill operating licence on June 17, 1999. Final approval from the Saskatchewan authorities is expected within 10 days. (AECB news release June 18, 1999 · Denison press release June 18, 1999 )
> View Board Reasons for Decision in Respect of the Application for a Licence Ammendment to the McClean Lake Project operated by COGEMA Resources Inc. (PDF - 23.5KB)

Production at the McClean Lake mill has commenced following receipt of final approvals from the Saskatchewan authorities. It is anticipated that the facility will achieve commercial production in October or November 1999. (Denison press release June 23, 1999 )

Mill and Tailings Operation at McClean Lake to be licensed

The Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) invites public comment on the upcoming licensing for COGEMA Resources Inc. McClean Lake Project to include the operation of the mill and the JEB Tailings Management Facility. Written comments or requests for appearances before the Board with respect to this licensing application must be received by May 27, 1999. (AECB News Release 99-09 , May 5, 1999)

AECB issues final approval for McClean Lake tailings facility

"An amendment was approved to the operating licence for Cogema Resources Inc. McClean Lake Project in northern Saskatchewan. The amendment permits the construction of a tailings management facility in the JEB open pit. The revised construction methods proposed by Cogema Resources Inc. address problems identified in late 1998 related to the construction of the filter drain." (AECB news release 99-05 , March 26, 1999)

Denison reduces workforce at McClean Lake project

"TORONTO, January 7, 1999 -- Denison Mines Limited announced today that because production at the McClean Lake uranium project is not expected to commence before the end of April, the work force at the site will be temporarily reduced by about 120 people, representing about 40 percent of full staffing levels." (from Denison Mines release, Jan. 7, 1999)

AECB defers final approval for McClean Lake tailings facility

"TORONTO, December 17, 1998 -- Denison Mines Limited announced that at the Atomic Energy Control Board ("AECB") meeting held today, the AECB determined that it would defer final approval of the construction of the JEB Tailings Management Facility ("TMF") at the McClean Lake project, in which Denison has a 22.5% interest.
The AECB stipulated that, because of the construction deficiencies which have occurred, it will require further evidence satisfactory to it that the TMF design and specifications will meet the stipulated performance criteria before final approval will be given." (from Denison Mines release, Dec. 17, 1998 ; see also AECB News Release 98-32 )

AECB orders cease work at McClean Lake Tailings Management Facility

"The Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) announced today that it has issued a cease work order at Cogema Resources Inc.ís McClean Lake Tailings Management Facility in northern Saskatchewan, effective October 9, 1998. During an announced site inspection on October 5-7, 1998 of the construction of the JEB Tailings Management Facility at the McClean Lake Project, AECB inspectors discovered that Cogema is failing to construct the filter drain of the JEB facility as approved by the Board. This failure is related to the size of the construction materials being used in the filter, and implementation of the Quality Assurance/Quality Control program at the JEB Facility."
> View full AECB press release 98-27 (October 13, 1998)
Meanwhile, AECB has lifted the stop-work order. Completion of the facility is expected in early 1999. (UI News Briefing 98.47, Nov. 25, 1998)

AECB invites public comment on McClean Lake license admendment

The Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) is inviting public comment on the requested amendment to the mining facility operating licence for the Cogema Resources Inc., McClean Lake Project.
The Board gave initial consideration to this application at its meeting on August 13, 1998, and is expected to make the final licensing decision following its meeting in Ottawa on November 5, 1998, taking into account any comments or concerns expressed by interested parties or the public.
Written comments or requests for appearances before the Board with respect to the licensing application must be received by October 15, 1998.
> View AECB press release 98-25 (September 18, 1998)

McClean Tailings Facility Construction Given Go Ahead

(Aug, 14, 1998) Denison Mines Limited announced today that the Atomic Energy Control Board has given Cogema Resources Inc. permission to proceed with the construction of the JEB Tailings Management Facility at the McClean Lake Uranium Project. The mined out JEB open pit is to be converted into a management facility for mill tailings from the McClean Lake mill. This mill is scheduled to process the uranium ore to be mined at the Cigar Lake and Midwest uranium projects. Construction should be completed in mid November under favourable weather conditions. Final consideration by the Atomic Energy Control Board is scheduled for November 5, 1998.
> View AECB press release 98-22 (August 17, 1998)

Cogema fined for McClean Lake spill

On April 15, 1998, Cogema pleaded guilty in court at Wollaston Lake to two charges under the Saskatchewan Environmental Management and Protection Act, netting them a $6,000 dollar fine on each count, or a total of $12,000 for (1) allowing a contaminant into the environment, and (2) failure to report a spill.
The accident ocurred on August 26, 1997 at the McClean Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan, when Cogema was using a chemical to kill off the fish in Sink Lake, a small lake, to use it as an effluent treatment pond, as approved by an environmental review in 1993. However, the valve in the dam leading to Vulture Lake was not shut off, and several pike and a whole lot of minnows were killed downstream. Cogema pretended for five days that nothing had happened, thus the second count of failing to report a spill.

Approval for Sue mine

Canada's Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) has approved the start of mining at the Sue C1 open pit at Cogema's McClean Lake. [UI News Briefing 97/10]

McArthur River joint venture (Saskatchewan)

> View McArthur River ownership details

> View more recent McArthur River issues

Commercial production begins at McArthur River mine

Commercial Production began at the McArthur River mine on Nov. 1, 2000 (Cameco Nov. 7, 2000).

Mining begins at McArthur River mine

Mining at the McArthur River high-grade uranium mine has begun on December 6, 1999. Cameco plans to ramp up to its full production capacity of 18 million pounds (6930 tonnes U) annually by 2002. Production during 2000 is expected to exceed 11 million pounds (4235 tonnes U) with commercial production targeted in the first half of the year. (Cameco News Release Dec. 7, 1999)

AECB approves operating licence for processing of McArthur River ore at Key Lake

> See under Key Lake

AECB approves operating licence for McArthur River project

Following its board meeting of October 7, 1999, the Atomic Energy Control Board approved the issuance of an operating licence, with a term to October 31, 2001, for the McArthur River Project, operated by the Cameco Corporation in northern Saskatchewan. This approval will permit the mining and processing of ore from McArthur River and the transport of the ore slurry to the Key Lake facility for milling. (AECB News Release 99-20 )

AECB to approve McArthur River project operating licence

The Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) invites public comment on the upcoming issuance of an operating licence for Cameco's McArthur River Project. Written comments or requests for appearances before the Board must be received by July 22, 1999.
The decision on this item is now scheduled for the October 7, 1999 Board meeting.
> View AECB News Release 99-13 of May 27, 1999

During operation of the mine, "Lucy Lake water and/or sediment concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, Ni, U and ammonia above guidelines or benchmarks are predicted to occur by the modelling". (BMD 99-72, available from AECB at info@atomcon.gc.ca)

AECB approves McArthur River project

On August 22, 1997, AECB issued the approval for construction of the McArthur River uranium mine.
On February 28, 1997, the Joint Federal-Provincial Panel on Uranium Mining Developments in Northern Saskatchewan had released its report on the McArthur River Uranium Mine Project, recommending the approval of the McArthur River project, subject to certain conditions (View Panel Press Release ).
Based on this report, the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan and the Federal Government of Canada issued their approvals of the project in May. The governments endorsed several of the Panel's recommendations, but not all of them.
> View Natural Resources of Canada Press Release · Backgrounder )
> View Govt. of Saskatchewan press releases: 97-213 · 97-214

The McArthur River uranium deposit has estimated geological reserves of 416 million pounds of U3O8, that is 160,000 tonnes of uranium, at an extremely high average ore grade of 12.7% U. The deposit is located about 550 meters below ground and cannot be mined by conventional mining techniques, for its high radiation. Therefore, the boxhole boring technique is to be used, which avoids human contact with the ore: first, tunnels are excavated around the deposit, then the groundwater flow is controlled by grouting and freezing, then the ore will be extracted by remote controlled boring machines. The ore is crushed and ground underground and then hydraulically pumped to the surface for further treatment.

The ore will be trucked over a distance of 80 km and milled at the existing Key Lake mill.

The tailings slurry resulting from the chemical extraction of the uranium from the ore is to be pumped over a distance of 4 km to the open pit of the former Deilmann uranium mine, where it is dumped under a water cover.

The Deilmann pit is already receiving tailings from the Key Lake operations. They are placed on a permeable layer of crushed rock and sand installed on the bottom and at the sides of the pit, according to the so-called `pervious surround disposal' scheme. This scheme is designed to offer high permeability flowpaths around the deposit, to avoid groundwater flow (inducing contaminant mobilization) through the deposit. For the McArthur River tailings to be dumped in the same pit, the application of the pervious surround disposal scheme is no longer considered necessary, for "natural and different geological conditions eliminate the need for the pervious envelope".

The 68-page panel report is available from the Panel Secretariat. View Panel Report summary .

The 36-page summary of McArthur River Joint Venture's EIS (The McArthur River Project - Environmental Impact Statement - Executive Summary, November 1995) is also available from the Panel Secretariat.

For updates on the review process, see CEAA McArthur River Panel Information

Contacts (after closure of the panel office on Dec. 12, 1997):
Heather Humphries, Panel Secretariat
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
13th Floor, Fontaine Bldg.
200 Sacré-Coeur Blvd.
Hull, Quebec, Canada K1A 0H3
Tel. +1-819-953-2754, Fax: +1-819-994-1469, E-Mail: heather.humphries@ceaa.gc.ca

Gail Anderson
Environmental Assessment Branch
Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Mangement
3211 Albert Street
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 5W6
Tel. +1-306-787-0785, Fax: +1-306-787-0930, E-mail: gail.anderson.erm@govmail.gov.sk.ca

View Comments on the Environmental Impact Statement for the McArthur River Proposal, prepared by Radioactive Waste Management Associates for the Saskatchewan Uranium Coalition (RWMA publication No. 054).
View Comments by the Saskatchewan Uranium Coalition on the McArthur River Panel Report.


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