Canada-based uranium mining company NexGen Energy has received the provincial environmental assessment (EA) approval to proceed with the development of its Rook I Project.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment has granted the EA approval under the Environmental Assessment Act.

The Rook I Project is a large-scale development-stage uranium project, located in the uranium-rich district of the southwestern area of the Athabasca Basin, Canada.

According to the feasibility study 2021, the project has a mine life of 11 years and can produce 29 million pounds per annum of uranium oxide in the first five years of operation.

It estimates the total capital expenditure for the mine at $1.3bn, of which $157m is allocated for early works and $1.14m for preproduction execution capital.

NexGen is the first mining company in the last two decades to receive the full provincial environmental assessment approval for a uranium project in Saskatchewan.

NexGen CEO Leigh Curyer said: “The achievement of this major milestone of Provincial Environmental Assessment approval for Rook I is key in meeting the surging global demand for ethically sourced uranium.

“I am incredibly proud of the NexGen team’s dedication and commitment to working together with our valued local Indigenous communities in this highly transparent and diligent regulatory process.

“Throughout the rigorous EA process, the Government of Saskatchewan recognized the unparalleled value and future opportunities the Rook I Project will provide for local communities, Saskatchewan, and Canada.”

With provincial EA authorisation in place, NexGen has filed for the technical review of the Rook I project environmental impact statement and is waiting for the completion of the federal EA process.

The company has also submitted initial applications for approvals of site earthworks, shaft sinking infrastructure, site water and mine waste management facilities, and associated ancillary infrastructure and services.

The Rook I Project lies within the Clearwater Dene Nation (CRDN), Birch Narrows Dene Nation (BNDN), and Buffalo River Dene Nation (BRDN) traditional territories and the Métis Homeland.

The four Local Priority Area (LPA) communities have formally confirmed their consent and are supporting the Rook I Project, said the Canadian mining company.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said: “NexGen’s Rook I Project will help build our local communities and create jobs for many northerners while providing an ethically and sustainably produced supply of uranium to world markets.”

Saskatchewan Minister of Environment Christine Tell said: “I would like to congratulate NexGen on this significant milestone with their Rook I Project. We look forward to working with them as this project advances and are excited that NexGen has chosen Saskatchewan as a place to do business.”