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Canadian federal territory supports uranium mining

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic

In Canada, Nunavut's government has announced it is in favor of uranium mining on the condition that the radioactive ore be used for peaceful and environmentally responsible purposes only.

Peter Taptuna, minister of Economic Development and Transportation, presented the official policy Wednesday in the legislative assembly.

"The government of Nunavut recognizes that uranium exploration and mining places special responsibilities on government because of the nature of uranium and its by-products, the history of its use for both peaceful and non-peaceful purposes, and its potential risks to human health and the environment," he said.

The government policy states that Nunavummiut must be the chief beneficiary of uranium exploration and mining, and that environmental standards must be assured.

It also states that uranium exploration and mining must have the support of Nunavummiut, especially those communities close to proposed development.

In 2010, the Nunavut government announced it would create a uranium policy. Consultations in Iqaluit, Baker Lake and Cambridge Bay followed.

The Nunavut government hired Golder Associates to attend the consultations and offer advice on the uranium issue. The consulting firm also does work for established uranium mining companies, including work for Areva Resources on the proposed Kiggavik project near Baker Lake.

That project is now before the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.