New Uranium Mining Projects - Canada (Archive)
(last updated 30 Mar 2007)
McArthur River ·
McClean Lake ·
> See also: Current New Uranium Mining Projects - Canada
> See more recent issues
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
(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
> 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
- Dr.Annalee Yassi, University of Manitoba occupational and environmental health professor, resigned from the panel on August 15, 1996. [Panel News Release 23 Aug 1996 ]
- John Dantouze, vice-chief with the Prince Albert Grand Council, and only aboriginal member of the panel, resigned from the panel on October 1, 1996. [Panel News Release 22 Oct 1996 ]
Moreover, several parties concerned withdrew from the review process during the last weeks:
- Inter-Church Uranium Committee (ICUC), a major objector to
the proposed mining projects, withdrew from the participation in
the review process.
- The mayors of four Northern communities in Saskatchewan
announced on October 1, 1996, that they will not allow the
scheduled public hearings to be held in their communities.
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
> 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
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]
> 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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
AECB approves McArthur River project
- Remote mining technology for high grade ore deposit
- Low-cost technology for tailings disposal
On August 22, 1997, AECB issued the approval for construction of
the McArthur River uranium
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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