Strateco Resources Inc. Uranium Mine – The Matoush Project is a Canadian mining development project located in the Otish Mountains of Northern Québec, approximately 275 kilometres north of Chibougamau and 210 kilometres northeast of Mistissini .
The goal of this project is to mine high quality uranium from the Northern Quebec region to supply future growing demand for nuclear power, from countries such as China and India. Strateco Resources has a 60% interest in the project consisting of 590 claims covering a total area of 31,195 hectares (312 square kilometres).
Opposition to this project is derived mainly from the Grand Council of Cree’s in nearby Mistissini, Quebec, which is the largest Cree community in Northern Quebec. The James Bay Cree claim that development of this uranium mining project will adversely affect the previous undisturbed ecology of the Otish Mountain, Issues of concern raised by the projects opponents include the risk of water contamination, land degradation, deforestation, disturbances to indigenous land, and adverse effects for Northern Boreal Woodland Caribou.
The Matoush project was put on hold in 2013, when a change in provincial government occurred, and the newly elected Parti Quebecoise imposed a moratorium on all uranium mining activities until an environmental review could be conducted on all major uranium mining activities in the Province of Quebec . The 2013 moratorium was hailed by the Grand Council of the Cree who view it as a temporary reprieve from invasive development laid out by the Charest government in the Plan Nord.
Since the moratorium, Strateco Resources filed a lawsuit against the Government of Quebec demanding $190 million for all the lost money that was sunk into the project over 8 years. .
The Matoush Project has a long history going back to 1980, where the uranium prospect was discovered by Uranerz Exploration and Mining Ltd. (Uranerz). Uranerz continued exploratory drilling and sampling in the region until 1985, when prices for uranium declined and the prospect was deemed unfeasible. Following a discovery by the Ashton Diamonds/Soquem joint venture in 2002, about 70 km north of Matoush, the western portion of the Otish Basin experienced a staking rush and what is now the Matoush property was acquired by Ditem Exploration Inc. (Ditem). Ditem optioned the property to Strateco Resources Inc. in 2005 and they began large-scale operations in 2006.