Canadian mining company NexGen Energy has secured provincial environmental assessment (EA) approval for its Rook I uranium project in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The company can now advance towards obtaining federal clearances for the project’s development.

Rook I is located 40km from the Alberta–Saskatchewan border and covers a total area of 35,065 hectares, with 32 contiguous mineral claims.

“The achievement of this major milestone of provincial environmental assessment approval for Rook I is key in meeting the surging global demand for ethically sourced uranium,” said NexGen Energy CEO Leigh Curyer. “I am incredibly proud of the NexGen team’s dedication and commitment to working together with our valued local indigenous communities in this highly transparent and diligent regulatory process.

“Throughout the rigorous EA process, the Government of Saskatchewan recognised the unparalleled value and future opportunities the Rook I project will provide for local communities, Saskatchewan and Canada. Today is a milestone for NexGen, the communities where we operate, the Province of Saskatchewan, and accelerates Canada in returning to being the world’s leader in the production of clean energy fuel for the global environment.

“With the provincial EA approval now in place, NexGen has submitted all responses to the federal technical review of the Rook I project environmental impact statement and eagerly looks forward to the completion of the federal EA approval process.”

NexGen Energy claims it is the first company in more than two decades to get full provincial EA clearance in Saskatchewan for a uranium project.

The company has submitted initial applications for approval of its earthworks, shaft sinking infrastructure, site water and mine waste management facilities as well as related ancillary infrastructure and services.

It also claims to be engaged with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment about these developmental phases.

As per a feasibility study conducted by the company in 2021, the project’s measured mineral resources are 2.18 million tonnes at an average grade of 4.35% of triuranium octoxide (U₃O₈), for a total of 209.6 million pounds of U₃O₈.

The project’s total initial capex is estimated at C$1.3bn ($941.86m).

At an 8% discount, Rook I is estimated to have an NPV of C$3.5bn post-tax and a 52.4% IRR, with a payback period of nine months.