Strateco (T.RSC) is disappointed that Philippe Couillard’s new government is not particularly interested in its Matoush uranium exploration project north of Chibougamau.
“We were hoping that a change of government would improve things. But we're under the radar, nobody cares about us,” said yesterday Strateco’s CEO, Guy Hébert, during the company’s shareholders’ meeting.
The previous PQ government refused to authorize the project, which resulted in Strateco instituting proceedings against Québec last year. The case is still before the courts. Ottawa gave the green light in 2012. “That project is a hot potato for everyone,” admitted Mr. Hébert.
The Environmental Public Hearing Board (BAPE) has just begun its study of uranium industry issues, but Strateco is not expecting much from this exercise. “The BAPE’s conclusion will be: people are nervous, we need more studies,” predicted Guy Hébert.
It is important to note that Strateco already asked that Louis-Gilles Francoeur, who chairs the BAPE commission, be disqualified on grounds that he is biased as a result of his former work as an environmental reporter for Le Devoir. The BAPE must publish its report in May 2015.
In any event, Mr. Hébert believes that the future of the Matoush project does not depend on the BAPE, but on an agreement with the Cree community of Mistissini. Indeed, current Chief Richard Shecapio is opposed to uranium exploration. Strateco hopes that the election planned for this summer will result in the election of a chief who is more sympathetic to his cause. Meanwhile, through its new subsidiary SeqUr, Strateco is stepping up its activities in Saskatchewan, a province that is quite familiar with the uranium industry.
But Strateco’s financial situation remains problematic. The company had 30 employees last year, but only 10 this year. Its current share price is $0.06 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, for a total value of only $11.2 million.