Inuit won't rush into uranium ban decision
Nunatsiavut resources minister says the government wants to make the right decision
Northern Labrador's Inuit government says it won't let mining companies pressure it to make a decision about lifting a ban on uranium mining.
Nunatsiavut Lands and Resources minister Glenn Sheppard said Wednesday that he knows the moratorium is costing companies money, but he says they'll have to wait until a mining plan is developed.
"We totally understand the exploration company's concerns, frustrations, what have you, but at the same time we must also remember those who've elected us into those positions, our beneficiaries," he said.
Sheppard represents the coastal community of Postville. Many residents there lost work after exploration companies pulled out because of the 2008 ban on uranium mining.
Some residents on the north coast have said they worry about the environmental impact if the moratorium is lifted.
Earlier this week Crosshair Exploration's Mark Morabito said the uranium-mining moratorium has been difficult for his company. Exploration was allowed to continue, but he said it was very difficult to raise money from investors scared off by the moratorium.
"Clearly after three years [Nunatsiavut] should have had enough time to look at whatever they feel the risks were," Morabito said.
Over the last three years, Nunatsiavut brought in environmental protection legislation. A land use plan is expected by September.
The terms of the moratorium require that a review be done, but there are no plans for one yet.
Crosshair is betting the moratorium will end. It's planning to do more exploration this summer.
Companies spent more than $70 million on exploration in Labrador in 2007, including the largest project involving a uranium deposit near Postville. Aurora Energy Resources wants to begin exploiting uranium deposits in the area by 2014.