​Arctic uranium mine rejected

A proposed uranium multi-billion dollar uranium mine slated for Canada’s Arctic region has been knocked back.

French nuclear energy giant Areva’s Kiggavik uranium mine has been opposed by the Nunavut region’s Impact Review Board (IRB), according to CBC.

The mine was proposed on the edge of a caribou calving ground.

The US$2.1 billion project would feature an underground operation, and four open pits, and created around 400 jobs in the local area, many of which were reserved for the local indigenous people.

According to the IRB the mine was opposed due to the fact it had no definitive dates for its development, and its environmental and social impacts had not been properly assessed.

"The board does not intend that this project not proceed at any time. The board intends that the Kiggavik Project may be resubmitted for consideration at such future time when increased certainty regarding the project start date can be provided," a statement from the IRB said.

Areva explained the lack of set operational dates as a reaction to the low uranium prices, which may have delayed the mine’s development by up to twenty years.

According to Rio Tinto a strong uptake in the uranium industry is still years away.

This is not the first mine, nor uranium operation, to begin development in the far north Arctic region.

As the ice shelves recede more land has opened up to development.

In the Canadian Arctic region, coal mines and iron ore mines have been proposed, with the Mary River iron ore ‘megamine’ currently underway in the area.

Further north in Greenland, Australian miner Greenland Minerals and Energy has taken major steps forward to develop its Kvanefjeld rare earths and uranium project, after last year signing an MoU with a Chinese firm to ramp up its supply chain and minerals processing capability.

The Greenland Government has even touted its lack of a mining tax to attract the interest of other Australian miners looking to develop the country’s rich reserves of untapped minerals.

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