Northern mine cleanups continue; province, feds still divided on cost – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – February 24, 2020)

Crews are expected to start assessing Saskatchewan’s first uranium mine, which was staked 100 years ago, this summer.

Saskatchewan’s first uranium discovery was staked a century ago, but it took almost three decades before prospectors gave up attempting to extract iron, copper and gold from the site and turned their attention to its last remaining mineral resource.

Named for the former Royal North-West Mounted Police officer who re-staked the site on the north shore of Lake Athabasca in 1929, the Nicholson mine underwent development in 1949 and sent out its first uranium shipments five years later.

Production halted in 1956 after Consolidated Nicholson Mines Ltd.’s supply contract ended in the face of falling prices. Subsequent efforts to resume mining failed and the remote site was abandoned with little cleanup effort a few years later.

“By 1959, the Nicholson ore body had been essentially depleted, however (it) played its role in helping Canada become one of the largest uranium producers in the world,” Laurier Scrhramm and Patty Ogilvie-Evans wrote in their 2018 book about the site.

Today, Nicholson is one of more than 30 abandoned mine sites scattered across the Athabasca Basin, the uranium-rich portion of the Canadian Shield that encompasses much of northern Saskatchewan and extends westward into Alberta.

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