Uranium developer Denison inks 'landmark' shared prosperity agreement with English River First Nation
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(Kitco News) - Uranium developer Denison Mines (TSX: DML) (NYSE: DNN) today announced the signing of a “landmark" shared prosperity agreement (SPA) with English River First Nation (ERFN) supporting the development and operation of Denison's Wheeler River project in northern Saskatchewan.
The company said in a press release that the SPA received support from a substantial majority of ERFN Members who participated in a ratification vote on its key terms.
“The signing of the SPA follows years of active engagement, including a four-month-long ERFN-led community consultation process ahead of the ratification vote, and represents a significant milestone in the history of both Denison's relationship with ERFN and the project," it added.
Importantly, Denison noted that the SPA acknowledges that the project is located within ERFN's Ancestral Lands and provides the company with ERFN's consent to advance the project.
Additionally, the SPA outlines a shared recognition that ERFN is the Knowledge Keeper of the culture, ways, customs, and values of ERFN in relation to the environment and its Members and reflects ERFN's desire to prioritize sustainability.
Amongst other key commitments, the SPA provides ERFN and its Members with an important role in environmental monitoring and management, and benefits from community investment, business opportunities, employment and training opportunities, and financial compensation.
“Overall, the SPA describes a mutual commitment to maintain an open, respectful, and cooperative relationship between Denison and ERFN to ensure mutual prosperity as the development and operation of the project progresses," Denison said.
Acting Chief Jenny Wolverine stated, "On behalf of ERFN I would like to express my gratitude for the patience, diligence, and perseverance shown by all participants throughout the negotiation process. This agreement stands as a testament to meaningful collaboration and mutual respect. We worked hard to secure the best team to support ERFN through these negotiations. This included strong legal counsel to negotiate the agreement, scientists to help us understand the environmental impacts, and consultants to review the impacts and benefits of the Wheeler River project. Together we built a strong deal for the Nation.
“We are confident that based on the size of the project and current best practices we have one of the best agreements in the entire country. As a Nation, we are now turning our attention to building our capacity for employment and training, so we are ready for the Wheeler River project and the full implementation of this important partnership," she added.
Denison is a uranium exploration and development company with interests focused in the Athabasca Basin region of northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Wheeler River is the largest undeveloped uranium project in the infrastructure-rich eastern portion of the Athabasca Basin region, in northern Saskatchewan. The project is host to the high-grade Phoenix and Gryphon uranium deposits, discovered by Denison in 2008 and 2014, respectively.
The company said that permitting efforts for the planned Phoenix ISR operation commenced in 2019 and have advanced significantly, with licensing in progress and a draft Environmental Impact Statement submitted for regulatory and public review in October 2022.
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