Canadian government of Nunavut allows uranium mining

The Government of Nunavut announced yesterday it is in favour of uranium mining in the largest and newest federal territory of Canada on the condition that the radioactive ore be used for peaceful and environmentally responsible purposes only.

Presenting the official policy in the legislative assembly, minister of Economic Development and Transportation, Peter Taptuna, outlined the principals under which the government of Nunavut will support the exploration and mining of uranium:

  1. Uranium mined in Nunavut shall be used only for peaceful and environmentally responsible purposes.
  2. Nunavummiut must be the major beneficiaries of uranium exploration and mining activities.
  3. The health and safety of workers involved in uranium exploration and mining and all Nunavummiut shall be protected to national standards.
  4. Environmental standards must be assured for uranium exploration and mining, especially for the land, water and wildlife.
  5. Uranium exploration and mining must have the support of Nunavummiut, with particular emphasis on communities close to uranium development.

Experts believe Nunavut’s decision may significantly alter the global uranium market. With the price of uranium down about 25%, any new uranium mines will be contingent on a price rise in uranium oxide, a key ingredient in the nuclear reaction.

Analysts, such as Scotiabank commodities analyst Patricia Mohr, believe that prices of the commodity "will eventually go back up again and long before any uranium mine opens in Nunavut."

Uranium-oxide prices have hovered around the $50-mark for the better part of a year but are still down from the levels reached before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan that damaged the Fukushima nuclear power station.