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New report questions the future of Quebec’s uranium mining industry

The outlook of Quebecs uranium mining industry does not look promising as anew reporthas concluded that “it would be counterindicated, [or ill-adv...

|Jul 30|magazine9 min read

The outlook of Quebec’s uranium mining industry does not look promising as a new report has concluded that “it would be counterindicated, [or ill-advised] in the present context, to allow uranium mining operations in Québec.” 

The condemning remarks are part of a 626-page report conducted by Québec's Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE).

According to the BAPE report, uranium mining in the province is far from reaching social and political consensus due to scientific uncertainty and gaps in technological knowledge. “These uncertainties are compounded by the radioactivity of uranium residues, which may remain problematic for thousands of years,” the agency wrote in its report.

The report also stated that Quebec’s government could ultimately decide to suspend, or terminate, the local uranium industry.

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"The BAPE's decision to continue to question the long-standing science and proven safe track record of modern uranium mining is misleading Quebecers and all Canadians," said Michael Binder, president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

"To suggest that uranium mining is unsafe is to imply that the CNSC and the government of Saskatchewan have been irresponsible in their approval and oversight of the uranium mines of Canada for the last 30 years."

However, the report also revealed a safety framework for the province to follow if it chose to open the door to uranium mining. The three requirements included securing social acceptance, making sustained efforts to gain knowledge with the aim of closing scientific knowledge gaps and technological and uncertainties, and taking the time required to formulate and adopt a legal framework for uranium mining through harmonized rules with federal legislation.

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According to CanadianManufacturing.com, the Canadian Nuclear Association said it looks forward to working with the Quebec Government as it studies the benefits and risks posed by uranium mining.

“We appreciate that the Quebec Government is keeping an open mind on this issue, particularly as it works with all other provinces to develop a clean energy strategy for Canada,” said John Barrett, CNA President.

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador welcomed the BAPE report, commenting that it supports their anti-uranium mining position.

“The AFNQL declares a permanent moratorium on the development of the uranium and rare earth sector on all the territories of First Nations in Quebec and invites the provincial government to do the same,” the organization said.

Canada is the second-largest uranium producer behind Kazakhstan and ahead of Australia. 

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