On June 6, the government of the Nunavut Territory, Canada approved the creation of the first uranium mine within the territory. The Nunavut Government sees the mine as an opportunity for job and economic growth through the construction and operation of the mine and the taxes it would produce for the government. In giving its approval, the Nunavut government provided specific guiding principles that must govern any uranium mining, as explained below. While community groups express concern about the formulation of the policy and the environmental impact, local leaders continue to be open minded about the mine’s potential economic benefits.
Nunavut is a federal territory in northeastern Canada created in 1999. Its land covers 20% of Canada, and has a population of 33,330 as of 2011. While it currently does not have control over its natural resources, Nunavut is in negotiations with the Canadian federal government to obtain this control and to ensure any mining of natural resources would directly benefit Nunavut. In fact, the Nunavut government stated that its approval of uranium mining is specifically contingent on ensuring that Nunavut is the main beneficiary of government revenue from mining activities within the territory.