FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Ottawa) Later today, MiningWatch Canada’s Canada Program Coordinator, Ramsey Hart, will attend and speak at a consultation session with Quebec’s environmental review agency – the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE). The BAPE is undertaking a province-wide review of uranium exploration and extraction – a response to ongoing opposition to mining the radioactive mineral in the province.
These initial consultations will give participants an opportunity to express their concerns and inform the strategy to be used by the review committee. MiningWatch will raise the following points with the representatives of the BAPE:
- The importance of examining risks and life-cycle impacts of the full uranium fuel cycle from exploration and mining through to disposal of high-level nuclear waste from nuclear reactors;
- The existence of alternatives to uranium extraction for energy production and economic development;
- The need to respect Indigenous values, Aboriginal and treaty rights and Indigenous decision making processes regarding uranium;
- The role of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and concerns about the regulator’s independence and objectivity;
- The potential export of Quebec uranium to countries with nuclear weapons programs including China and India who have not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty;
- The potential use of Quebec uranium in non-nuclear weaponry and its impacts on local populations.
Uranium mining in Quebec, as elsewhere, is a highly contested proposition. The Matoush Project is the only exploration project in an advanced stage of development but it has been stymied by opposition from the Mistissini Cree and the Grand Council of the Cree. The Cree do not support uranium mining on their territory and have called for a moratorium. Their concern is shared by the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. Elsewhere, local citizen groups and Indigenous communities have opposed exploration projects including in western Quebec and the Outaouais region, the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Gaspé. According to the Coalition Québec meilleure mine, a total of over 400 First Nations, municipalities and organizations have indicated their opposition to uranium mining in Quebec.
Ramsey Hart, 613-298-4745