Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Strateco has invested almost $125-million in its Matoush project since 2006.

The battle over uranium mining in northern Quebec is heating up again.

Strateco Resources Inc. petitioned a Quebec court on Dec. 5, seeking to force the province's environmental minister to allow underground uranium exploration at the company's Matoush project, located in the Otish mountains 200 kilometres northeast of Mistissini.

Quebec's Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment, Wildlife and Parks had denied Strateco's permit on Nov. 7 after the local Mistissini Cree community refused to consent to uranium development near its hunting grounds and trap lines.

Story continues below advertisement

"Many Cree work in the mining industry; we are not anti-development," said Cree Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come.

"But uranium is a special case. The tailings will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. It is a burden for future generations that we are not prepared to assume."

Strateco's CEO, Guy Herbert, said the Matoush project is crucial to the development of the company's assets in northern Quebec. He estimated that the project could produce 30 million pounds of some of the highest-grade uranium in the world – worth roughly $1.7-billion at current market prices – and channel $800-million to Quebec over 10 years.

He said the company has invested almost $125-million in the project since 2006 and obtained 22 permits from the environmental ministry. He said the authorization at issue now would be the final hurdle in its protracted fight to move the project forward.

"We have the law on our side," Mr. Herbert said. "This is public land. … We have the right in Quebec to mine uranium."

But the Cree view Strateco's legal wrangling as a last-ditch attempt to undermine their rights under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement of 1975.

While the Matoush project is located on provincial territory, its disposition still requires Cree consultation under the treaty, said a lawyer for the Cree, Jessica Orkin of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell in Toronto.

Story continues below advertisement

The treaty also created an elaborate environmental review process, the first of its kind in Canada, and the minister must consider a number of factors, including both Cree input and the rights of resource developers, in approving any mining projects under its jurisdiction.

The minister's Nov. 7 decision stated that the lack of social acceptance by the local Cree communities was "obvious and determinative" in denying Strateco's permit.

Strateco has maintained that its interests and prior investments were ignored. It will be back in court on Jan. 24, 2014 to argue its motion.

Whatever happens there, Mr. Herbert said the company doesn't intend to walk away from Matoush. "If the court decides against us, we will seek damages and lost profits for our investors."

Uranium is used as a fuel in the production of nuclear energy. Mr. Herbert expects the demand for nuclear energy will only grow. "This is the time to develop uranium mines," he said.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies