Rook I Project
In February 2019, the CNSC received an initial project description from NexGen Energy Ltd. for the proposal to construct and operate a new underground uranium mine on the Patterson Lake peninsula in the southwestern Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan, approximately 155 km north of the town of La Loche.
About the project
The proposed Rook I project includes underground and surface facilities to support the mining and processing of uranium ore. The main components include an underground mine, an onsite mill to process an average of 1,400 tonnes of ore per day, surface facilities to support the short- and long-term storage of waste rock and ore, an underground tailings management facility, water-handling infrastructure and an effluent treatment circuit, and additional infrastructure to support mining activities.
CNSC authorization is required in the form of a licence issued under subsection 24(2) of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) in order for the project to proceed. However, an EA is required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) before the Commission can make an NSCA licensing decision.
Visit the NexGen Energy Ltd. website for the latest information about this project.
About the environmental assessment
Because this project was initiated under the CEAA 2012 and led by the CNSC, the EA will continue under this process. The Impact Assessment Act, which came into force on August 28, 2019, contains provisions that allows projects to continue this way.
An EA under the CEAA 2012 is a planning and decision-making tool. Its objectives are to minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects before they occur and to incorporate environmental factors into decision-making. The EA will consider all phases of the project that require a licence. This includes site preparation, construction, operation and decommissioning.
An EA decision affirming that the proposed activities will not cause significant adverse environmental effects is required before the CNSC can make a licensing decision on this proposal.
As part of the EA, NexGen Energy Ltd. is also required to provide details about the alternative means – the various technically and economically feasible options – that were assessed for carrying out the proposed project. Note that the CNSC does not prescribe the selection method for mining technologies. However, it has a mandate to ensure that the technology proposed by the licensee or applicant does not pose a risk to the public or the environment.
This project is also subject to the environmental assessment requirements of the Government of Saskatchewan.
About the CNSC’s review of the proposed project
CNSC staff will undertake a review of the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) pursuant to the CEAA 2012 and conduct a licensing review pursuant to the NSCA and its associated regulations. As the responsible authority for conducting the EA, the CNSC will work with other federal and provincial departments to verify the EIS and its technical supporting documentation. Complete licensing and EIS submissions are required before CNSC staff can complete their assessment and proceed with public hearings.
About participation opportunities
Indigenous peoples, members of the public and stakeholders will have several opportunities to provide feedback on the project. The draft EIS will be available for comment once it has been submitted by NexGen Energy Ltd. All questions and comments received during the public comment period must be addressed by NexGen Energy Ltd. as part of its final EIS.
Following the receipt of a complete licensing submission and final EIS, CNSC staff’s assessment of the licence application and the EA report will be available to Indigenous peoples, members of the public and stakeholders in a Commission member document at least 60 days prior to the Commission’s public hearing. Indigenous peoples, members of the public and stakeholders will also have the opportunity to participate in the hearing through written submissions and/or oral interventions.
In addition, throughout the EA and licensing process, CNSC staff will engage with key communities within the regional project area through open house events, information booths at community events, and webinars. Updates will be posted on both the CNSC website and the Registry website on a regular basis as well as circulated to mailing distribution lists.
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