Denison Mines (TSX:DML) (NYSE:DNN) entered into an exploration agreement with the Ya’thi Néné Lands and Resources Office (YNLR), a collective group of three First Nations called the Athabasca Nations, and another collective of communities in the Athabasca region, to search for uranium.
The agreement is working towards a long-term relationship between Denison and the Ya’thi Néné Lands and Resources Office (YNLR), the Athabasca Nations and the Athabasca Communities. The company wants to sustainably engage in exploration activities that’s respectful of the Athabasca Nations’ Indigenous rights. Other benefits include providing economic benefits and opportunities for the Athabasca communities, and advancement of reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
“This agreement formalizes years of work that Denison and the YNLR have undertaken together in the spirit of collaboration, resulting in several notable achievements, including the renaming of Waterbury Lake’s J Zone deposit to Tthe Heldeth Túé in honour of the Denesułiné territory in which the deposit is located. Our past and present actions demonstrate a mutual willingness to engage in positive business practices that advance reconciliation, and this Exploration Agreement further codifies how the principles expressed in Denison’s Indigenous Peoples Policy will guide our activities in the Nuhenéné into the future,” said David Cates, Denison’s president and CEO.
Denison Mines is a uranium explorer working in the Athabasca Basin region of North Saskatchewan. The company holds a 95 per cent interest in the Wheeler River Uranium Project. Denison’s other interests include a 22.5 per cent ownership interest in the McClean Lake joint venture and its uranium mill. The mill is under a toll milling agreement to process the ore from the Cigar Lake mine. Additionally, the company has a 25.17 per cent interest in the Midwest Main and Midwest A deposits.
The First Nations of the Athabasca Region
The YNLR is a nonprofit owned and operated by the Hatchet Lake Denesułiné First Nation, Black Lake Denesułiné First Nation, Fond du Lac Denesułiné First Nation and the Athabasca Communities of the Northern Hamlet of Stony Rapids, the Northern Settlement of Uranium City, the Northern Settlement of Wollaston Lake and the Northern Settlement of Camsell Portage. Established in 2016, the organization works to enhance the environmental, social, economic and cultural well-being of its residents.
“Our communities want to participate in and benefit from projects happening on our lands, which historically has not always been the case. This Exploration Agreement will provide certainty to our Basin communities that there will be meaningful engagement on proposed projects and monitoring of exploration activities to ensure the environment and all Treaty Rights are respected,” said Mary Denechezhe, YNLR board chair.
“The economic benefits will help to strengthen our communities in the Basin. We acknowledge and respect Denison’s leadership in advancing reconciliation with our communities,” Denechezhe added.
The agreement establishes a progressive and sustainable basis for maintaining a cooperative relationship between all parties involved. It includes a framework for predictable information-sharing and permitting processes, environmental protections and support for community development initiatives. This cooperative approach is how Denison can get consent for its exploration and evaluation activities in the Nuhenéné.