As you know, Fission Uranium is developing the Triple R deposit at PLS - the Athabasca Basin’s largest, near-surface, high-grade uranium project.
When it comes to advancing any mining project, one of the most critical components is social and environmental governance – often referred to as ESG.
In today’s world, without the right approach to ESG, no project has a hope of entering production. This is particularly the case in Saskatchewan, Canada, where the rules are straightforward but also very strict.
Although Fission began as a pure-play explorer, our team has always understood that environmental work goes hand-in-hand with successful exploration. That’s why we commenced baseline environmental activity the very same year that we discovered uranium at the PLS project, and its why we maintained that work with every subsequent work program.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of baseline environmental work because it’s the platform that ultimately feeds into the environmental assessment (EA) report.
The EA is where the major government regulators start getting involved in a big way. If you take shortcuts with your baseline environmental work then the regulators will send you back to basics again and again until you can answer every single question they have, and provide them with the data to back up your answers. Get the baseline work correct at every step, as Fission has done, and you minimize the potential for problematic reviews and avoid costly development setbacks.
Of course, it’s not just the government regulatory bodies who keep a sharp eye on a company’s environmental activity. Stakeholders, rights-holders and shareholders need assurances and proof that environmental governance is at the top of every developer’s list of priorities.
Fission has always listened closely to constructive feedback and the best example can be found in the changes we have made to our mine plan.
The Triple R deposit at PLS is fortunate enough to be both high-grade and near surface. This combination gives us a lot of flexibility when it comes to development, and our first prefeasibility report used a hybrid open pit and underground mine design. During our communications with local stakeholders and rights-holders, it became clear they preferred a more traditional, underground mine in order to further limit any environmental impact.
Fission responded quickly by commissioning a second study based on an underground-only mine design. The results still outlined the potential for one of the lowest cost uranium mines in the world, with the additional benefit of lower CAPEX, but most importantly, also presented a dramatically reduced environmental footprint.
Our baseline studies and underground-only prefeasibility study place us in a strong position as we move towards the environmental assessment and feasibility study phases.
We understand the critical importance of ESG because our team has deep knowledge and expertise in this area. This includes my own experience working with junior explorers and major producers at every level of project development and operation. In addition, our ESG and permitting manager, Mark Wittrup, has played a key role in successfully permitting some of the world’s largest uranium mines, and has occupied senior roles within the Saskatchewan provincial government.
Ultimately, our goal is to develop a low cost uranium mining operation that benefits the community and has a minimal environmental footprint. We are passionate about our task because uranium provides the fuel for nuclear power stations which, along with solar and wind, provide the cleanest form of energy available today. As countries continue the crucial transition to carbon free electricity generation, Fission’s PLS project has an important role to play as one of the most exciting uranium projects that can be built this cycle.
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