Rook I Project

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Project Overview

The Rook I Project’s world-class production profile, innovative method for the uranium tailings management, and minimal surface footprint provides the opportunity to demonstrate industry-leading applications of environmental excellence and social stewardship.


Delivering a Generational Project


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About the Rook I Project

The Rook I Project (Project) is a proposed new uranium mine and mill development located in northwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. The resource for the Project is the land-based, basement-hosted (within the rocks underground) Arrow Deposit.

The Project which is 100% owned by NexGen, proposes to include facilities to support the extraction and processing of uranium ore from the Arrow deposit. NexGen has completed exploration, geotechnical, and environmental and community studies since 2013 to define the resource and plan how to best develop the Project.

The proposed Project is located in the southern area of the Athabasca Basin, approximately 130 km north of the town of La Loche and 640 km northwest of the city of Saskatoon. The proposed Project is situated within Treaty 8 territory and the Métis Homeland.

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Project Infrastructure

Proposed Project infrastructure includes underground and surface facilities to support the extraction and processing of uranium ore from the Arrow Deposit.

The Rook I Project will be comprised of an underground mine, a surface mill and ancillary facilities, and an underground tailings management facility.

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Optimal Geological Setting

The Arrow deposit is 100% contained in the crystalline basement rock. Mineralization occurs 100 m below surface and extends to a depth of 950 metres. The competent ground conditions in the areas planned for mineral extraction do not require freezing, and by comparison, the composition of the Arrow deposit has very clean metallurgy for a more simplified processing circuit for the mill at surface.

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Underground Tailings Management Facility

All processed waste streams for the Rook I Project will be safely and permanently stored underground as a cemented product. Tailings placement will be either in mined out stopes (areas developed during the extraction of uranium ore) or purpose-built underground chambers in the underground tailings management facility (UGTMF).

The UGTMF represents a key environmental design feature that will safely and permanently store tailings underground, reduce the Project footprint on surface, and substantially minimize the associated risks to the environment throughout and beyond the Project lifespan. The UGTMF will also provide opportunities for continued and ongoing reclamation during operations.

Underground Tailings Management Facility

NexGen is creating as much positivity as possible for lasting economic, social, and environmental benefits.

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Local Priority Area

The local priority area (LPA) consists of the local communities closest to the Project that would experience most of the Project effects and for which NexGen is prioritizing local training, employment, and business opportunities.

Communities in the LPA are located along or accessed via Highways 155 and 955 north of the intersection of Highways 155 and 925. These communities include the Clearwater Dene Nation (CRDN), Birch Narrows Dene Nation (BNDN), and Buffalo River Dene Nation (BRDN); northern villages of La Loche and Buffalo Narrows; and surrounding northern hamlets and settlements. All LPA communities are within the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN-S) Northern Region 2 (NR2).

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Regional Project Area


At a regional scale, the proposed Project is situated within the southern Athabasca Basin adjacent to Patterson Lake, along the upper Clearwater River system. The Project site is located within the Patterson Lake Watershed, which is within the larger Clearwater River Watershed that drains into the Mackenzie River Watershed.

Climatic conditions at the Project site are considered sub-arctic with temperatures ranging from -18°C in February to 17°C in July. Elevations in the region range from 583 metres above sea level (masl) at the crest of hills and ridges to 480 masl for some of the lowland lakes. The Project site is dominated by sandstone (sand-sized grains of rock material) with some bedrock outcroppings (rock that rises above the surface).

Two Saskatchewan provincial parks are located within 150 km of the proposed Project: Clearwater River Provincial Park (41 km south), and Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park (141 km north). The two closest Alberta provincial parks to the proposed Project are Marguerite River Wildland Provincial Park (38 km west) and Richardson River Dunes Wildland Provincial Park (51 km northwest).

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long has NexGen been active in exploration work in Saskatchewan?

NexGen has been actively exploring in northern Saskatchewan in the southwest Athabasca Basin since 2013. The Arrow Deposit was discovered on the Rook I Project February 14, 2014.

Why uranium?

A significant increase in uranium is needed to support the transition to nuclear energy, which has lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels (Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency, 2020). The International Energy Agency forecasts indicate that the global demand for electricity could increase by up to 90% between 2018 and 2040.

What is uranium from Canada used for?

All Canadian uranium exports are solely used for clean energy production and sold to countries that have Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NCA) in place with Canada. NCAs establish reciprocated obligations to minimize risk associated with major nuclear items including assurances that exports are properly protected, safely handled and used for peaceful purposes only.

What is the Rook I Project?

The Rook I Project (Project) is a proposed new uranium mine and mill development located in northwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. The resource for the Project is the land-based, basement-hosted (within the rocks underground) Arrow Deposit. The Rook I Project will be comprised of an underground mine, a surface mill and ancillary facilities, and an underground tailings management facility.

What is the purpose of the Rook I Project ?

The Rook I Project can provide a potential source of uranium as part of meeting global demand for electricity through low-GHG emitting energy options. The development of the Project can support the establishment of renewable energy options, help meet the growing global electricity demands, and support both national and international efforts to reduce GHG emissions.

Where exactly is the Rook I Project located?

The proposed Project is located in the Southwestern area of the Athabasca Basin, approximately 130 km north of the town of La Loche and 640 km northwest of the city of Saskatoon. The proposed Project is situated within Treaty 8 territory and the Métis Homeland.

What makes the Rook I Project unique?

The Rook I Project’s world-class production profile, innovative method for the uranium tailings management, and minimal surface footprint provides the opportunity to demonstrate industry-leading applications of environmental excellence and social stewardship.

What is the geological setting of the Rook I Project?

The Arrow deposit is 100% contained in the crystalline basement rock. Mineralization occurs 100 m below surface and extends to a depth of 950 metres. The competent ground conditions in the areas planned for mineral extraction do not require freezing, and by comparison, the composition of the Arrow deposit has very clean metallurgy for a more simplified processing circuit for the mill at surface.

What are the key technical characteristics of the Rook I Project?

Key technical characteristics include:

  • Land based
  • Basement hosted
  • High-grade
  • Monometallic
  • Near vertical stacked veins
  • High rock strength
  • Low hydraulic conductivity

Where is the Project at in the regulatory stage?

NexGen reached a major milestone in the advancement of regulatory approvals with the submission of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), or Environmental Assessment (“EA”) application, to both the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (“CNSC”) and Ministry of Environment (“ENV”) in June 2022.

In July 2022, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (“CNSC”) announced their acceptance of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Rook I Project. The announcement by the CNSC marked the beginning of the formal technical and public review period that is being led by the CNSC. The ENV is currently conducting their technical review of the draft EIS.

What is the anticipated life-span of the Rook I Project?

The anticipated lifespan of the Project is estimated to be 43 years and includes Construction (4 years), Operations (24 years), and Decommissioning and Reclamation (15 years) phases.

What are the economic benefits of the Project?

The Project would generate benefits through payments to the governments of Saskatchewan and Canada through royalties; the total estimated direct payments to government for a typical operating year are estimated at $288.5 million for Saskatchewan and $103.9 million for Canada based on a US$50 per lb uranium price realised annually over the life of the Project.

How many direct jobs will the Project create?

Direct jobs are estimated to total 350 during the 4-year Construction period and 490 during the 24 years of Operations of which approximately 260 people are expected to be on site at any one time. The Project is envisioned to be fly-in/fly-out with most employees on a two-week rotation.

What about indirect and induced jobs?

Total Canada-wide direct, indirect, and induced employment related to the Project, if approved, is estimated to range between approximately 2,050 and 2,625 full-time equivalent positions annually over the four years of Construction, and between 950 and 1,200 full-time equivalent positions during a typical year in Operations.

What kinds of jobs will be available?

Typical job categories include general construction, skilled trades, site services, maintenance, powerhouse technicians, mine technicians, mill and environmental monitoring, surveyors, safety officers, supervisory, underground miners, mine and mill operators, accounting, human resources, geologists, metallurgists, and engineers.

What is an Underground Tailings Management Facility ?

Tailings are the materials left over after processing has been completed and the uranium has been removed from the ore.
An Underground Tailings Management Facility (“UGTMF”) stores all processed waste streams underground, resulting in no tailings remaining on the surface. Disposal of tailings underground will significantly reduce the surface footprint of the Rook I Project and represents continued and ongoing reclamation during operations, setting a new global standard for environmental mine management.

Where else has this tailings management method been used?

While underground paste tailings management is a common practice in Canada, it’s more commonly a small percentage of approximately 30%. NexGen’s commitment to send all tailings underground is unique, and will set a new global standard for environmental mine management.

What is the environmental performance plan for the Project?

The design, construction and operation of all Project infrastructure carefully considers environmental performance, and a number of industry leading environmental performance concepts have been incorporated into the Project planning. Controls will be put in place to ensure protection of the environment throughout the life of the proposed Project.

Monitoring of the environment will be in place throughout the life of the proposed Project and will help to ensure that the environment isn’t having an adverse or unexpected impact on the environment.

The proposed Project will also be subject to both provincial and federal environmental assessments which are highly rigorous and require the comprehensive evaluation of the predicted environmental performance of the Project. Approvals will not be issued until the provincial and federal governments are satisfied that the Project will not adversely effect the environment.

How has NexGen engaged with Indigenous and local communities?

Engagement with local Indigenous Groups and communities has been ongoing since 2013. Studies to understand the existing conditions at the site and in the surrounding area have been ongoing since 2015, with specific focus on air, water, land, and wildlife.

Activities to date, and going forward, include:

  • Meetings with elected leadership
  • Workshops, presentations, open house events, and site tours
  • Establishment of a regional community liaison office in La Loche
  • Articles or announcements in local and regional media
  • Posting of information through the company (www.nexgenenergy.ca) and project (www.saskatchewanuranium.ca) websites.

Questions about the Rook I Project can be directed to: 
1-833-333-8895
engagement@nxe-energy.ca