Uranium companies’ deal with Saskatchewan community to buy their silence

The agreement would prohibit Pinehouse from criticizing the companies now or in the future, a measure that amounts to an indefinite “gag order”

  • Pinehouse promises to “fully support” Cameco and Areva’s current, proposed and future projects in public, to investors, to regulators and with other groups. Pine-house leaders must make reasonable efforts to ensure community members “do not say or do anything that interferes with or delays” the companies’ operations. 
  • Pinehouse agrees to not make any future financial requests or claims against the companies.

Uranium firms offer deal to Sask. community Agreement sparks opposition By Jason Warick, The StarPhoenix November 27, 2012 An offer by uranium giants Cameco Corp. and Areva could soon deliver jobs, cash payments and other benefits to the northern community of Pinehouse, but some residents worry it’s a thinly veiled attempt to buy their silence.

Gary Merasty, Cameco’s vice-president of corporate social
responsibility, said “collaboration agreements” are being negotiated
with Pinehouse and several other northern Saskatchewan communities.
Merasty said the deals will formalize decades-long partnerships on
jobs and other issues.

“We’re trying to update our relationship with northern communities,”
Merasty said Monday.

But some Pinehouse residents point to several clauses in the draft
agreement that would force Pinehouse to support the companies to
regulators, investors and the public.

The agreement would prohibit Pinehouse from criticizing the companies now or in the future, a measure that amounts to an indefinite “gag order,” said Pinehouse resident Fred Peterson. “I really don’t like
this. I hope we can get it stopped,” Pederson said of the deal, which
could be signed by the end of December.

Peterson and other residents fear the so-called gag order will extend
beyond their elected officials. One clause obliges leaders to “make
reasonable efforts to ensure Pinehouse members do not say or do
anything that interferes with or delays Cameco/Areva’s mining.”

“They are trying to take away our voice as individuals and as a
community,” said John Smerek, a resident of Pinehouse, a largely Metis
and First Nations municipality of 1,000 people located about 400
kilometres north of Saskatoon.

According to the draft agreement, discussed earlier this month at a
meeting in Pinehouse, Cameco and Areva would make one-time cash
payments to a Pine-house community trust after the agreement is
signed, after production begins at the Cigar Lake mine and after the
construction of the Millennium mine begins.

The Cigar Lake mine, expected to be the world’s largest, is scheduled
for initial production in 2013, with full production in 2017.

The Millennium mine project was expected to begin initial engineering this year.

The companies would also make annual payments to Pinehouse based on
annual production levels. Areva, Cameco and Pine-house officials
declined to disclose financial details, although Merasty said payments
might be similar to the $430,000 that Cameco has given Pinehouse in
the past few years for a new arena, sidewalks and other projects.

Cameco would also provide jobs and training to Pinehouse residents and
use Pinehouse businesses to supply the mines. Merasty noted Cameco has
paid $26 million in salaries to Pinehouse residents since 2004 and hasdone $11 million in business with Pinehouse businesses in recent
years.

Areva spokesperson Jarret Adams said the goal of such agreements is to
build stable, long-term relationships with northern
communities……..
Pinehouse Mayor Mike Na-tomagan lauded the deal. He said he wasn’t
worried about the clauses obligating him to support Cameco and Areva
because they are good companies……..
Pinehouse promises to “fully support” Cameco and Areva’s current, proposed and future projects in public, to investors, to regulators and with other groups. Pine-house leaders must make reasonable efforts to ensure community members “do not say or do anything that interferes with or delays” the companies’ operations.

. Pinehouse agrees to not make any future financial requests or claims
against the companies.

Read more: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/Uranium+firms+offer+deal+Sask+community/7613391/story.html#ixzz2E14yw3d6

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