Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan to cost-share remediation of uranium mines

06/17/05

This press release is also available in French.



OTTAWA -- The Government of Canada today announced that it will share the cost of remediating certain uranium mining facilities in northern Saskatchewan with that provincial government. The clean-up costs will be determined as a Memorandum of Agreement is developed between the two governments in the coming months.

"By working with the Government of Saskatchewan on the clean-up of the Gunnar and Lorado sites, we are meeting our commitment to managing the development of our natural resources in a safe, environmentally sound and sustainable manner," said the Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada.

"I am pleased that we are now able to address these sites," said the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Finance. "This marks a major step forward in dealing with these contaminated sites and protecting the environment in Saskatchewan."

The Gunnar and Lorado uranium mines were active from the 1950s until the early 1960s, and contributed to the Government of Canada's national security effort at that 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 Gunnar and Lorado mines were operated by the private sector; however, the companies that produced the uranium no longer exist. A private company that retains ownership of a portion of the Lorado site will be contributing to the uranium mine clean-up with the Government of Canada and the province of Saskatchewan.

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 license. 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.

This initiative advances the Government of Canada's commitment to protect human health and the environment and to help create the conditions that will allow Canada to build the innovative economy it needs for the 21st century.

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