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Strateco stock plummets on Quebec uranium mining moratorium

Quebec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet responds to reporters’ questions at a news conference on uranium mining, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Quebec City. Shares of Strateco Resources Inc. are down nearly 60 per cent in the first trading session since last week’s decision by the Quebec government to effectively impose a moratorium on uranium mining in the province.

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Shares of Strateco Resources Inc. are down nearly 60 per cent in the first trading session since last week's decision by the Quebec government to effectively impose a moratorium on uranium mining in the province.

Strateco, which has invested more than $120-million in its Matoush uranium project in northern Quebec, has said it intends to investigate the legality of the province's move.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Strateco shares were down 7 cents, or 58.33 per cent, at 5 cents in early afternoon trading Monday on heavy volume of more than 6 million shares.

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Quebec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet announced last Thursday that the province was putting uranium mining projects on hold while it examined the environmental impacts of the industry.

Mr. Blanchet said no permits for uranium exploration or exploitation would be issued until the evaluation process has been completed.

The government is not expected to receive a final report with recommendations from Quebec's environmental assessment agency for about a year.

In a statement issued shortly after the announcement, Strateco president and CEO Guy Hébert said that "in addition to overlooking the recommendations of his own review committee, the minister has also completely ignored the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's expert opinion."

"These internationally recognized experts have all concluded, without exception, that our project is safe," Mr. Hébert said.

The government announcement came amid ongoing legal proceedings aimed at forcing it to make a decision on Matoush, which Strateco said "it has refused or neglected to make for nearly two years."

"Strateco intends to look into the legality of such an announcement given that the Superior Court has not yet had the opportunity to rule on the matters brought to its attention," it said.

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