Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Saskatchewan wants to host the largest uranium mine in Canada

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The operating site is located near the Clearwater River, Buffalo River and Birch Dene First Nations Narrows as well as several Métis communities.

Radio-Canada

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The Canadian company NexGen Energy has received authorization from Saskatchewan to continue the development of its “Rook I” mining project. , the largest uranium mining project in Canada.

According to the company, once operational, the mine would produce more than 23% of the world's uranium production during its first years of production.

The authorization was granted on November 8 following an environmental assessment carried out by provincial authorities. However, the project still needs federal approval.

NexGen Energy is the first company in over 20 years to receive full provincial environmental assessment approval for a new uranium project in Saskatchewan.

This is an incredibly important asset not only to the people of Saskatchewan, but to the world when it comes to uranium projects, says NextGen Energy's director of mining technical services. Nick Espenberg.

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According to NexGen Energy Ltd's director of mining technical services, Nick Espenberg, the Rook I project could be implemented within this decade if it receives federal approval.

The operating site is located near the Clearwater River, Buffalo River and Birch Narrows Dene First Nations as well as several Métis communities.

According to Nick Espenberg, the company wants to do things the right way when it comes to the environment and will use cutting-edge technologies to do so.

One of these aspects is the management of underground tailings. We plan to put 100% of all treated tailings from our processing plant underground and leave no residue on the surface, he says.

Espenberg says the company is currently focused on preparing for construction pending federal approval.

Even though the sector is in its infancy, the future is very bright for Saskatchewan's critical minerals industry, according to Energy and Resources Minister Jim Reiter.

Indeed, last October, the company Vital Metals announced that it was putting an end to its project for a rare metals processing plant in Saskatoon. Jim Reiter acknowledges that the province's economy is experiencing some difficulties due to the global context, but he is optimistic.

It is to be expected that there will be this kind of setback. We've seen an increase in exploration work and that's largely what the [province's critical minerals] strategy was aimed at. We remain very optimistic in the long term, explains Jim Reiter.

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Energy and Resources Minister Jim Reiter says the future is “very bright” for Canada's vital minerals industry Saskatchewan, despite the difficulties.

The evolution towards more batteries, among other things, will create demand and it is of a long-term proposition. There will be obstacles along the way, but we think that in the long term it is still very positive, indicates the minister.

Mr. Reiter adds that labor shortages, access to capital and federal regulations pose obstacles for the industry.

We still think that the future is still very promising in this area.

With information from Pratyush Dayal

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