This award honours an individual or organization demonstrating outstanding initiative, leadership and accomplishment in protecting and preserving the natural environment and/or in establishing good community relations during an exploration program or operation of a mine.
NexGen Energy Ltd.
For employing the latest technologies to reduce exploration’s environmental footprint and for fostering economic and social development in neighbouring communities through a variety of initiatives
NexGen Energy, winner of the 2018 Bill Dennis Award for the discovery of the Arrow uranium deposit in Saskatchewan, has expanded its pursuit of excellence into the realm of environmental and social responsibility as Arrow advances towards development and production.
On the environmental front, the Vancouver and Saskatoon-based company is overhauling dated practices and implementing new technology to minimize its footprint. Directional drilling is testing several targets from a single location, significantly reducing the land disturbed by conventional drilling. At each drill site, centrifuges separate return water from mineralized cuttings to prevent contamination. Meanwhile, extensive studies are characterizing the existing environment to inform future planning, disturbed areas are being re-vegetated, and plans are underway to install a solar energy pilot project and construct energy efficient buildings.
NexGen is also leading the way in community engagement in northern Saskatchewan by introducing several initiatives designed to improve economic development, health and community well-being through sports and recreation. NexGen has focused on employment opportunities for La Loche and surrounding communities with a rapidly increasing number of services and supplies being locally sourced. Through an alliance with the Breakfast Club of Canada, NexGen is feeding healthy breakfasts to over 1,100 students in three schools nearby, for the well-being of students as they commence the school day. High school and post-secondary students are invited to explore different career options by participating in NexGen’s summer internship program, and qualify for bursaries to fund their university or college education. Over 29 students have completed this program since 2016. Additionally, youth have the opportunity to pursue active and culturally-rich lives as a result of ongoing sponsorships for local sport teams, music and dance clubs. Even the dogs are looked after: NexGen hosts a fostering program at its camp that gives homeless dogs a safe place to stay while they await adoption—some of which are adopted by NexGen’s staff.
The Arrow uranium deposit is expected to have a mine life of at least nine years, according to a pre-feasibility study completed in 2018. By offering hands-on work experiences and access to education, sports and cultural opportunities, NexGen is empowering the local population to build a positive future within their own communities and at the proposed mine. By implementing progressive environmental practices and devising innovative approaches to future challenges such as underground tailings storage, the company is ensuring the environment that surrounds them remains as unaltered as possible during exploration, development and mining.