A major uranium project in northwestern Saskatchewan has cleared a significant regulatory hurdle.
NexGen Energy said Thursday that its proposed uranium mine and mill to be built on the Athabasca Basin north of La Loche known as “Rook I” was granted full approval after an environmental assessment carried out by provincial officials.
“Throughout the rigorous [environmental assessment] process, the Government of Saskatchewan recognized the unparalleled value and future opportunities the Rook I Project will provide for local communities, Saskatchewan, and Canada,” NexGen CEO Leigh Curyer said in a release.
The project is 100 per cent owned by NexGen. Once complete, it will mine and process uranium ore from the Arrow Deposit. Discovered in 2014, the deposit begins 100 metres below the surface and extends as deep as 950 metres, according to NexGen.
According to the company, this is the first time in more than 20 years for any company to receive this kind of approval for a uranium project.
“Saskatchewan and our northern communities are well-positioned to benefit from the increased demand for critical minerals,” Premier Scott Moe said in a press release. “NexGens Rook I Project will help build our local communities and create jobs for many northerners while providing an ethically and sustainably produced supply of uranium to world markets.
With provincial approval in place, the project is now awaiting completion of a federal review and assessment process from the regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
NexGen says the mine’s anticipated lifespan is estimated at 43 years, which includes four years of construction, 24 years of operation and a 15 year decommissioning and reclamation plan.
It’s anticipated to generate millions of dollars in both provincial and federal royalties once operational.