Quebec imposes moratorium on uranium exploration and mining – by Henry Lazenby ( – March 28, 2013)

TORONTO ( – Quebec-focused uranium explorer Strateco Resources on Thursday denounced an announcement made by Quebec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet, effectively placing a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in the province, and ordering an impact study on the exploration and development of the mineral.

The Minister’s announcement followed ongoing legal proceedings aimed at forcing the provincial government to make a decision on the company’s flagship Matoush project, which is located east of James Bay on The James Bay Cree Nation’s Eeyou Istchee reserve.

Last year, after two years of public hearings, the James Bay Cree Nation enacted a permanent moratorium on uranium exploration, mining, milling and waste emplacement on their territory on the east shore of James Bay, known as Eeyou Istchee.

Despite this moratorium, federal regulators, including the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, allowed Strateco’s Matoush uranium project to proceed within this Cree territory. Nevertheless, before this project could proceed, provincial authorisation was also required, for which Strateco had already been waiting for two years.

The company in January filed a court order to force the Quebec government to make a decision on its exploration project in the province’s Otish Mountains.

In October, The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission granted an exploration license to Strateco Resources, allowing the company to do advanced exploration for uranium at the site.

The company in January said the Cree should not have the power to veto the project, and that it was up to the provincial government to make the final decision.

Strateco said it intended to look into the legality of the Ministers announcement, given that the Superior Court had not yet had the opportunity to rule.

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