Denison Mines begins environmental impact assessment for Wheeler River project
Denison Mines announced that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, or CNSC, and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, or SK MOE, have accepted the provincial technical proposal and federal project description submitted by Denison for the In-Situ Recovery, or ISR, uranium mine and processing plant proposed for the company's 90% owned Wheeler River Project. Denison also announced that it has executed a series of memoranda of understanding, or MOUs, with indigenous communities in support of the advancement of the project. Acceptance of the project description is the first formal step to officially commence the EIA process in accordance with the requirements of both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and The Environmental Assessment Act. The project description outlines the major components of the project and the potential interactions with the environment. The CNSC and the SK MOE are expected to carry out a coordinated Federal-Provincial EIA that will follow the spirit of the Canada-Saskatchewan Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation, to the extent possible. The cooperation agreement allows for the production of a single environmental impact statement for the Project, which is intended to present the findings of the EIA in accordance with the requirements of both levels of government. The company said a successful EIA process is critical to securing the approvals necessary to develop and operate a mine in Canada. Accordingly, Denison plans to initiate various studies and assessments as part of the EIA process, which is intended to culminate in the preparation of the Project EIS. The EIA is a planning and decision-making tool, which involves predicting potential environmental effects throughout the project lifecycle at the site, and within the local and regional assessment areas. The EIA objectives are to minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects before they occur and incorporate environmental factors into decision making processes. In addition to predictions made, effective monitoring programs will be developed based on results of the assessments and implemented. The EIA work builds upon the environmental baseline dataset Denison has prepared for the project, and feedback collected from engagement activities completed to date. After careful consideration of the economic results produced by the pre-feasibility study, prepared in accordance with NI 43-101 for the project in late 2018, Denison and the Wheeler River joint venture approved plans to initiate the EIA process as well as the engineering studies and related programs required to advance the development of an ISR mining operation, highlighted by the high-grade Phoenix deposit, with an on-site processing plant.