OTTAWA & REGINA – The governments of CANADA and SASKATCHEWAN announced on June 17 that they have agreed to share the cost of cleaning up certain uranium mines in the northern part of the province. Individual costs will be determined as a memorandum of agreement is developed in the coming months.
The Gunnar and Lorado sites covered by the agreement produced uranium from the 1950s to early 1960s. They were part of the federal government’s national security effort at the time. When the sites were closed, there was no regulatory framework in place to appropriately contain and treat the waste, which led to negative environmental impacts on local soils and lakes. The mines were operated by private companies that no longer exist.
The project will be carried out in three phases. Phase 1 will last a minimum of two years and consists of an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and an application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a project licence. Phase 2, which will last at least three years, involves the actual site clean-up. Phase 3 consists of monitoring the site to ensure the waste produced as a result of the mining activity is properly treated and managed.
No estimates of the clean-up costs were given when the agreement was made.