MAC: Mines and Communities

"Inappropriate" to authorize uranium mining in Quebec

Published by MAC on 2015-07-17
Source: Statement (2015-07-17)

Red Light for Uranium Mining in Quebec

Quebec meillure mine Coalition Welcomes Independent Panel’s Conclusions

Statement

17 July 2015

Quebec - The Coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine welcomes the conclusions of the Quebec Environmental & Public Hearings Panel (BAPE), which concluded that the risks and uncertainties of the mining of uranium relating to health and the environment are still too numerous to allow it to proceed. The BAPE concluded that in the current context, “it would be inappropriate to authorize uranium mining in Québec.” (Summary Report, p.2)

Quebec called to ban uranium mining

“We are very pleased with the findings of the report of the BAPE, which after more than a year of analysis and dozens of public consultations in the four corners of Quebec, confirms what we have been saying for years: the risks and uncertainties uranium mining on health and the environment are still too numerous to allow their operation,” says Dominique Bernier, coordinator of the Coalition Québec meillure mine.

“We now ask Quebec to implement the conclusions of the BAPE and follow the examples of British Columbia and Nova Scotia in legislating against the development of such mines in Quebec,” said Ugo Lapointe of MiningWatch Canada and co-spokesperson of the Coalition Québec meillure mine.

Radioactivity: at the heart of the issue

In the comprehensive 626-page report, the BAPE concluded that the radioactivity of the ore and mining waste that is left behind form the heart of the acceptability challenge faced by this industry. Each mine typically produces thousands of tons of mining waste containing a cocktail of toxic elements, including several that remain radioactive in the very long term (thousands of years). Despite improvements in recent years, the BAPE is not satisfied with the current methods and technologies to maintain the long-term safety of uranium sites. The BAPE also fears the high cost that these sites could leave for society over the long term, both environmentally and economically.

A socially unacceptable sector

Given the risks and uncertainties of uranium mining, the BAPE also notes that this industry enjoys no social acceptability in Quebec. During the hearings, a vast majority of intervenors were against the sector, in addition to many organizations that have taken formal positions, including hundreds of municipalities and all First Nations in Quebec.

The Coalition will respond in detail to the full report in a forthcoming communication.

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For more information:
- Dominique Bernier, 418-570-3497, quebecmeilleuremine[at]gmail.com
- Ugo Lapointe, 514-708-0134, ugo[at]miningwatch.ca

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All links to the BAPE documentation (in French, English, Cree, and Inuktitut) are here: http://www.bape.gouv.qc.ca/sections/mandats/uranium-enjeux/

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