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A snowmobile heads out on the land just outside Lutsel K'e. Peter Enzoe, a hunter from Lutsel K'e is not in favour of uranium exploration in the area. - NNSL file photo

Uravan seeks uranium near Thelon Basin

Stephan Burnett
Northern News Services

Snowdrift (Jan 10/05) - Uravan Minerals is looking for uranium 200 km southeast of the NWT's Thelon Basin, a world famous wildlife sanctuary.

"The Thelon Basin is North of the Athabasca Basin," said company president Larry Lahusen.

"We could potentially find the same ... world class uranium deposits (as) in the Athabasca."

It's an old property, some 4,069 hectares in size, that has come around again and is aptly named Boomerang by its owners. Along with an air survey of the property, Uravan expects to drill some exploratory holes later this year.

"We know we have anomalous uranium mineralization," he said.

Later this month, Uravan plans to set its exploration budget for the coming year.

The whole idea doesn't sit well with Peter Enzoe, a hunter from Lutsel K'e. He said he's not in favour of any possible uranium development in the area. He said the Beverly caribou herd could be negatively impacted by development and he points to the fact a more Northern herd shrank after mines open in the eastern Arctic's Kitikmeot region.

"If you build a mine it changes the way the migration is supposed to happen, and that's my livelihood," he said.

The GNWT is looking to support and promote diversified mining, said Resources Wildlife and Economic Development Minister Brendan Bell.

"Uranium mining is being done safely elsewhere in Canada, most notably in Saskatchewan," said Bell.

He added the company must acquire permits, as do all mineral exploration companies working in the territories. The minister was encouraged by the resumption of interest in base metals.

Tom Faess, owner of Great Canadian Ecoventures, operates tours in the Thelon Basin.

"I think uranium gets a raw deal," he said.

"I would rather learn more about the project before I take a definitive position."