Twelve years after signing on to clean up a northern Saskatchewan uranium mine, the province wants Ottawa to honour its commitment to share in the efforts and costs.
To get its message across to Ottawa, the province is suing the federal government in the matter.
In a statement of claim filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench, the province is seeking more than $61 million in damages for compensation it says it’s owed, and for what it deems as Ottawa’s “equal share” in the clean-up costs.
A statement of claim contains allegations not yet proven in court.
The matter is over the Gunnar uranium mine and mill, on Lake Athabasca in the province’s far northwest region, west of Fond du Lac.
The site first began operations in 1955, and closed down in 1964. A press release from the province says the government regulated uranium production at the site.
The statement of claim says that in 2006, the province and Ottawa signed a memorandum of agreement to decommission and reclaim the site in a “‘collaborative and equitable manner.'”
Since then, estimates for the total cost of the three-phase cleanup have jumped to more than $278 million, the claim says.
“Canada has not provided the equal contribution required under the MOA and has so far not engaged with Saskatchewan in serious and substantial discussions in good faith of the Parties’ contributions under the MOA, despite being aware of the incurred costs,” the claim says.
It adds that the province has so far chipped in more than $125 million, while Ottawa has only contributed $1.13 million.
“After repeated requests to the federal government to honour its joint obligations to the North, to northern and First Nations communities and to the environment, we are left with no choice,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said in the release.
“We implore the federal government to pay its fair share of continuing remediation work,” she said.