A Vast Canadian Wilderness Poised for a Uranium Boom via Environment 360

Canada’s Nunavut Territory is the largest undisturbed wilderness in the Northern Hemisphere. It also contains large deposits of uranium, generating intense interest from mining companies and raising concerns that a mining boom could harm the caribou at the center of Inuit life.
by ed struzik

Now, however, the Inuit grandmother of two finds herself once again on the front lines of a grassroots movement trying to block several new companies from mining uranium from the same lodes near Baker Lake. And this time the playing field has changed.

The Canadian government has made it clear that Arctic mining will be one of the cornerstones of the country’s economic future. It is encouraging mining companies to exploit the deposits of gold, silver, zinc, diamonds, uranium and other minerals and metals found in abundance in the vast areas of the enormous Nunavut Territory, as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

In spite of the global recession of 2008 and the March 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which caused some countries to reconsider nuclear power, uranium exploration is proceeding at a record pace in this part of the world. In Scottie’s backyard, the French mining giant, Areva — partnering with JCU Exploration of Canada and the DAEWOO Corporation of Korea — is actively exploring a major uranium lode at Kiggavik, the site of the former planned German mine, 50 miles west of Baker Lake. Other companies also are considering building mines in the surrounding tundra. In the territory of Nunavut alone, more than $322 million was spent on exploration for uranium and various metals and diamonds in 2011, up from $189 million in 2009.

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