Areva leaves Nunavut after uranium project rejection

French nuclear energy giant Areva (FRA:A9RB) is closing shop in Canada’s Nunavut after failing to secure the necessary permits for its $2.1 billion Kiggavik uranium project.

The company, which last year received a resounding no from the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, is now selling its office building in Baker Lake, Nunavut's only inland community.

Areva’s Kiggavik uranium project called for one underground and four open-pit mines just west of Baker Lake, and would have provided at least 400 jobs.

“After over 10 years exploring in the territory, studying the possibility of developing the Kiggavik Project and making numerous friends in the Kivalliq region, it’s time to say good bye,” the company said in an ad published Friday in the print edition of Nunatsiaq News.

“We thank all the Nunavummiut who have welcomed us, guided us and supported us over the years. It was a pleasure getting to know you and working with you.”

Areva’s Kiggavik uranium project called for one underground and four open-pit mines just west of Baker Lake, and would have provided at least 400 jobs, many reserved for local Inuit.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board first rejected the proposed mine in 2015 and its decision was backed by Nunavut’s government last year on the grounds that the mine plan lacked a definite start date and a development schedule. The board concluded that without that information it was impossible to assess the environmental and social impacts of Kiggavik.

The company is, however, keeping the project and it hasn't ruled out revisiting it once uranium prices are more favourable.

Currently, the commodity is trading at around $22 per pound, down almost 50% since 2013 way far from the $136 a pound it hit in 2007.