VANCOUVER – Trench Metals Corp. [TMC-TSXV; NVTQD-OTC; 33H2-FWB] is applauding the Trudeau government’s October 25, 2022 announcement that Canada will provide $970-million in funding to develop a grid-scale small modular reactor (SMR), a new nuclear technology touted as a key part of the country’s plans to reduce emissions, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said on Tuesday.
Key highlights: The funding, offered as low-interest debt from the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s (CIB) pool earmarked for clean power investments, would go toward preparation work required prior to nuclear construction, including project design and site preparation.
At the Tuesday announcement, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) CEO Ehren Cory revealed the company will be investing the funds so the SMR reactor can be built and fully functional at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station by 2029. Cory was joined by Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith.
Recognition that nuclear energy is critical to the achievement of Canada’s climate goals. Wilkinson said at the Darlington Energy Complex in Clarington, Ontario, “Canada, like the rest of the G7, is targeting net-zero emissions by 2050. The government has an intermediate goal to cut emissions 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. Nuclear power is one source that can help in reaching our climate targets while addressing growing future demand.”
Once the SMR is completely built, OPG says it will avoid about 740,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year – roughly the equivalent of gas emissions from 160,000 gas-powered cars.
Four provincial governments (Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta) are pushing ahead with a plan to advance nuclear power in Canada. Don Morgan, minister responsible for SaskPower in Saskatchewan, and his provincial counterparts said the small-scale reactors are a good solution to providing clean power in remote communities and to Alberta’s oilsands.
Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin is Canada’s leading producer of uranium, with 90% exported, and the remaining 10% fueling nuclear reactors in Canada. The Athabasca district is home to the highest grade of uranium deposits in the world and accounts for 18% of global uranium production.
Saskatchewan’s uranium is responsible for powering approximately 1 in 20 homes in the United States. According to the 2021 Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies, Saskatchewan has retained its #1 spot as the best place in Canada, and is the second-best jurisdiction globally, for mining investment attractiveness.
“This recent announcement of almost $1 billion in funding support from the Federal government to develop small modular reactor (SMR) is a meaningful milestone for the continuing renaissance of the nuclear sector and the increasing demands to explore for, and develop, new uranium deposits. Trench Metals is well positioned in the Athabasca uranium district to participate in this search for new uranium deposits,” stated Simon Cheng, president.
Trench Metals has the right to acquire a 100% interest in two highly prospective uranium project in northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca uranium district and is actively exploring the Higginson Lake and Gorilla Lake properties. Results from a recent exploration program on the Higginson Lake uranium project will be announced when assays are received.
Higginson Lake uranium project covers an area of approximately 5,900 hectares and is 52 km northeast of the town of Stony Rapids, which is accessible by Highway 905 and 964. The Higginson Lake uranium project hosts two historic drill-indicated reserves, totalling 4.8 million lb of U3O8. The Gorilla Lake uranium project comprises nearly 7,000 hectares in the Northern mining district of Saskatchewan near the Shea Creek uranium deposit.