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Areva's uranium mine in Saskatchewan wins approval

File photo of Cameco's Cigar Lake uranium mine.

David Stobbe/Reuters

The federal government has approved the environmental assessment of Areva's proposed Midwest project in northern Saskatchewan.

Environment Minister Peter Kent approved the project after ruling it is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects given planned measures to reduce risks and follow-up programs.

Areva's Midwest deposit is in the eastern Athasbasca Basin, about 750 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

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The company said Thursday that several steps still remain before the Midwest partners can reach a decision regarding the project, including completion of an updated feasibility study.

The Midwest joint venture includes Areva, Denison Mines Corp. and OURD Canada Co. Ltd.

In addition to the Midwest project, Areva's other investments in Saskatchewan include a 30-per-cent stake the McArthur River mine and 37 per cent of the Cigar Lake mine.

Last month, Areva started the first phase of construction to expand its McClean Lake uranium mill in northern Saskatchewan.

Areva and its partners are investing $150-million to upgrade the mill and increase its capacity.

The upgrade is being done so that the mill can process uranium ore from the Cigar Lake mine slated to begin production late next year.

The work includes construction of a storage facility for yellowcake, the powder that is an intermediate step in the processing of uranium ores.

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