Nova Scotia politicians back uranium mining ban

CBC News: April 15, 2008

An all-party committee of the Nova Scotia legislature has reaffirmed its support for the province's moratorium on uranium mining.

The standing committee of resources passed the motion unanimously Tuesday after a two-hour presentation by the province's main mining association on why the ban should be lifted.

"We are not interested in having the moratorium stand in the way of legitimate mining," said Graham Steele, the New Democrat MLA who proposed the motion.

"We understand the uranium moratorium as it's currently worded can, in some circumstances, stand in the way of the development of a healthy mining sector. So we're all for the removal of those kinds of impediments, while leaving the uranium in the ground where it belongs."

The motion also calls on the province to consider allowing exploration for other minerals even if uranium turns up during the search.

Steele said it's now up the provincial government to appoint a committee to review whether it's possible to mine other minerals without disturbing uranium deposits.

Gordon Dickie, president of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, told the committee that Nova Scotia is sacrificing tens of millions of dollars in possible exploration because of the moratorium.

Nova Scotia banned uranium exploration in 1982 after rural residents complained about the environmental risks.

Canada produces about one-third of the world's uranium, making it the top producer around the globe. Uranium is used in nuclear power plants to produce electricity.

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