Licensing process for new uranium mines and mills
In general, the licensing process for new uranium mines begins following the exploration stage to identify a potential ore body, and before the specific physical activities to evaluate the best approaches for the mining, ore processing, and milling for the ore body are carried out. For more information, please see Licensing Process for New Uranium Mines and Mills in Canada (INFO-0759) (PDF).
The licensing process is initiated by an application sent by the proponent to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). As stated in the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Rules of Procedure, the application must be filed with the Secretary of the Commission.
The Uranium Mines and Mills Regulations set out the requirements for the following phases in the life-cycle of a uranium mine or mill:
- a licence to prepare a site and to construct
- a licence to operate
- a licence to decommission
- a licence to abandon
The regulations list information which applicants must submit to CNSC as part of the licence application. Applications for licences must be accompanied by licence fees, as set out in the Cost Recovery Fees Regulations.
Prior to any such licence being granted, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) stipulates that an environmental assessment (EA) must be carried out to identify whether a project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, taking into account the appropriate mitigation measures. Only with a positive EA result can the licensing process continue.
Any applicant must be aware that other provincial or territorial legislation may also apply in regards to their project, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to address this issue.