On November 13, 2012 , a seemingly innocuous document was distributed without fanfare at a Pinehouse community meeting. This “Summary of the Collaboration Agreement Term Sheet made among Cameco Corporation, Areva Resources Canada Inc., and Pinehouse” (often referred to simply as the “Term Sheet”) had been secretly negotiated over the past year. It was not so much intended as a matter for community discussion as it was to present a fait accompli. But a few attendees with a critical eye quickly recognized problems with the Term Sheet. Among its objectionable provisions was what amounted to a gag order on Pinehouse residents regarding the social and environmental impact of expansion of the uranium mines north of the community near Key Lake. Despite howls of protest, including pointed interviews on CBC Radio’s As It Happens evening news program, the industry and Village/Kineepik officials proceeded with the agreement.
The collaboration agreement was signed on December 12, 2012 incorporating a few modifications to soften the more offensive terms in the agreement, but the original text was largely left intact. Since its endorsement, roughly $3 million dollars has been paid by industry to the community, which has been distributed by the locally controlled Pinehouse Community Trust Advisory Panel. To date the village hockey arena has received $1.35 million of the funds; over $530,000 has gone to school, pre-school, and post-secondary initiatives; about $160,000 has gone to church and native Elders projects; and $134,000 has been allocated to Kineepik Metis Local Inc. programming. It is hard to imagine anyone in Pinehouse not having been impacted in some way by the largesse. For many, the questions raised back in 2012 about the impropriety and the long-term implications of the collaboration agreement seem to have been forgotten.