On March 28, 2013, Québec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet announced that no authorization certificates for uranium exploration or mining projects in Québec will be issued until the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (“BAPE”) has completed an independent study on the uranium sector and issued a report. However, limited exploration work which does not require a permit can still go ahead. BAPE is expected to hold public hearings on the uranium sector in Québec in Fall 2013. These public hearings will focus on the environmental and social impacts of exploration and mining of uranium in Québec.
Certain Aboriginal groups in Québec, including the northern Québec Crees of Eeyou Istchee, have called for a permanent moratorium on uranium development. The Minister noted that Aboriginal organizations will be invited to play a significant role in the consultation and that it is important for Government to respect the principles relating to the protection of the social environment and the protection of Aboriginal people, their societies, communities and economy. BAPE’s review will be conducted in collaboration with the review committees and advisory committees provided for in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, the Northeastern Québec Agreement and the Environment Quality Act (Québec).
Click here to view the Government of Québec’s press release (available in French only).