03/28/2013 06:21 EDT | Updated 05/28/2013 05:12 EDT

Quebec puts uranium mining on hold while it studies environmental risks

QUEBEC - The Quebec government is putting uranium-mining projects on ice while it examines the environmental impacts of the controversial industry.

The environment minister says no permits for uranium exploration or exploitation will be issued until the evaluation process has been completed.

Yves-Francois Blanchet says the process will include public hearings on the risks of uranium mining.

The government is expected to receive a final report with recommendations from Quebec's environmental-assessment agency in about a year.

Blanchet says the evaluation is necessary due to public concerns over the radioactive properties of uranium.