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Miners stunned, environmentalists cheer after northern uranium project blocked – Yahoo Canada News
Wed May 9, 5:28 PM
By Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
(CP) – Miners are stunned and environmentalists cheering over a northern regulator’s recommendation that a uranium exploration project be denied because it threatens the spiritual and cultural well-being of the area’s Dene people.
The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board says Ur-Energy’s (TSX:URE) plan to drill up to 20 holes near the Thelon River should not proceed under any circumstances.”Although the proposed development is physically small, the potential cultural impacts are not,” says the board in a written decision.
It is only the second time in the board’s history that it has dismissed a project outright.
It’s now up to federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice to decide whether to accept the recommendation, which throws doubt on the future of hundreds of mineral leases and claims in a vast area of the Northwest Territories.
“It’s a major concern if you can’t run a minimal-impact exploration program,” Mike Vaydik of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines said Wednesday.
“Mineral exploration in the southeast part of the N.W.T. is basically stopped.”
Monte Hummel of the World Wildlife Fund agreed.
“This stands to have a serious impact on not just this project,” he said. “That’s what the people who live there want.”
Ur-Energy described the decision as a delay.
In a release, company president Bob Boberg said Ur-Energy is disappointed with the review board’s recommendation and “will continue to pursue any and all approaches that will allow us to advance exploration.”
Boberg said Ur-Energy would discuss the recommendation with Prentice.
The Thelon Basin is considered one of the earth’s last pristine wildernesses.
1: Link to Ur-Energy , including an email address for their Corporate Office in Canada, should you so wish…
2: Link to a PDF of the Review Board’s Report.