Wheeler River project
The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) came into force August 28, 2019. Ongoing projects with environmental assessments initiated under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and led by the CNSC, will continue under their current processes. The IAA contains provisions to enable these projects to advance in this way.
Environmental assessment (EA) start date: May 31, 2019
Reference number: 80178
Proponent: Denison Mines Corporation
Location: Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan
Visit the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry (CIAR) website for all information and documentation related to the project.
On March 20, 2020, the CNSC received notification from Denison Mines Corp. of the temporary suspension of the EA for the Wheeler River Project as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CNSC will therefore not proceed with any further steps in the EA process until the proponent lifts this suspension.
- January 25, 2020 - Resumption of the Environmental Assessment for the Wheeler River Project
- March 20, 2020 – Temporary suspension of the environmental assessment for the Wheeler River Project
- December 20, 2019 – Record of Decision – Denison Mines Corporation – Decision on the scope of an environmental assessment of the proposed Wheeler River Project (PDF, 11 pages, 288 KB)
- December 4, 2019 – Notice of hearing in writing to consider an application from Denison Mines Corporation
- May 31, 2019 – Public comments Invited on project description (source: CIAR website)
About the project
On March 19, 2019, the CNSC received a project description from Denison Mines Corp.
Denison Mines Corp. is proposing to develop an in situ recovery (ISR) uranium mine located in the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan, 4 km west of Highway 914 and approximately 600 km north of the city of Saskatoon.
The proposed Wheeler River Project includes underground and surface facilities to support the mining and processing of uranium ore using the ISR mining method, and would produce up to 5400 tonnes of uranium oxide (U3O8) annually for 20 years. The main components include an ISR wellfield, two freeze plants on the surface to establish a frozen isolated mining chamber underground, an onsite plant to process the mining solution recovered from the ISR wellfield, surface facilities to support the short and long term storage of waste rock, water handling infrastructure and a water treatment plant, and additional infrastructure to support mining activities.
CNSC authorization in the form of a licence issued under subsection 24(2) of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act is required in order for the project to proceed.
Before the Commission can consider a licensing decision, an EA conducted under CEAA 2012 is required. The purpose of an EA is to identify the possible environmental effects of a proposed project, to determine whether these effects can be mitigated and whether there are any remaining significant adverse environmental effects before the project is allowed to proceed. The EA will consider all licensing phases, including site preparation, construction, operation, and decommissioning.
The public registry for this project is maintained on the CIAR. If you wish to receive email notifications when the CNSC’s website is updated, including notices for hearings, meetings and Participant Funding Program funding opportunities, please subscribe to the CNSC mailing list. For questions or information directly related to this EA, please contact:
Environmental Assessment Officer
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
P. O. Box 1046, Station B
280 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5S9
Telephone: 613-947-3209 or 1-800-668-5284
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