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Saskatchewan uranium hearings update

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Special: Environmental Racism and Nuclear Development

(March 28, 1993) Two governmental environmental review panels for proposed uranium mines in Saskatchewan are underway (see WISE NC 362/363, pp. 6-11). Members of both panels have stated that submissions from outside of Canada are welcome. Contact the Panels' Secretariat at the address below for documents (sent out free of charge). Note that they will accept collect phone calls.

Miles Goldstick

The Uranium Development Panel (run by both the federal and province of Saskatchewan governments) submitted its final report on 15 January 1993 for the McArthur River underground exploration program, one of the five proposed mines it is examining. The public hearings for this part of the project were completed in December 1992. The public hearings for the production phase of the McArthur River project are not expected until mid-1994. For the Midwest Joint Venture, McClean Lake project, and Cluff Lake extension, public hearings are scheduled for between March and May 1993; and the final reports are expected in the early fall of 1993. For the Midwest Joint Venture, the Panel's 41-page request for additional information, lists 65 deficiencies and related information requests. The Panel's request for additional information on the McClean Lake project is 37 pages in length and lists 59 deficiencies and information requests.

The Rabbit Lake Uranium Mine Environmental Assessment Panel (run by the federal government only) announced on 20 November 1992 that the environmental impact assessment (EIS) submitted by CAMECO Corporation for three proposed uranium mines at Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan (Collins Bay A- and D-zones and Eagle Point) was not adequate and CAMECO has been required to provide more information "in a number of critical areas". Once the additional information has been submitted there will be a public review period lasting at least 30 days before a decision is taken on whether to proceed to the public hearings. According to the Panel Secretariat, CAMECO was expecting to complete its report of additional information in late February, thus the public hearings would be in late April 1993 at the earliest.

Also on 20 November 1992 the federal government Panel released two documents: the 400-page "Compilation of Submissions" on CAMECO's (Canadian Mining and Energy Corporation) EIS and the 20-page "Request for Additional Information" on the EIS. The latter document lists 29 deficiencies and makes specific information requests for each. The deficiencies cover a wide range of environmental and socio-economic aspects of the proposed mines. The compilation includes all written submissions received by the Panel on the EIS. There are a total of 18 submissions: five from federal government agencies, three from pro-mining associations, seven from anti-mining individuals and organizations, and three from Panel- appointed experts.

The report by the people of Wollaston Lake is particularly critical of CAMECO's plans and style. The Wollaston submission reads, "Wollaston residents know, without benefit of an elaborate environmental assessment and review process, that any further developments will result in some further alienation from a land base." CAMECO's evidence of public consultation is referred to as "a transparent manipulation of public opinion."

Contact: Panel Secretariat, Uranium Mine Development Review Office, Room 420, 1955 Smith Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4P 2N6; tel: +1-306-780-8251 (collect calls accepted!); fax: +1-306-780-8250.