COGEMA Wins Appeal of McClean Lake Ruling

Monday, June 07, 2004 at 14:31



A ruling that temporarily put the future of the McClean Lake uranium mine in jeopardy has been overturned.


The ruling came Friday from the Federal Court of Appeal.


In a unanimous decision, the appeal court overturned a lower court ruling in September of 2002 that quashed the original federal operating licence of the McClean Lake mining and milling facilities.


The court of appeal agreed with arguments put forward by the mine’s operator, COGEMA, that the mine’s licence was properly obtained despite changes in federal laws while the licensing and environmental review was under way.


COGEMA’s position was supported by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the government of Saskatchewan and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.


COGEMA spokesman Alun Richards says the case caused a great deal of needless uncertainty for northern people and businesses that depend on the mine for their livelihoods.


The 2002 lower court decision was seen as a victory by a group of Saskatoon activists, known as the Inter Church Uranium Committee, which filed the initial court challenge.


COGEMA applied for a new operating licence for the McClean Lake operation in March of 2003 as insurance, just in case the appeal was denied.