The uranium rush hit Elliot Lake in 1953 with the first discovery, and for 40 years the mines there produced a large proportion of the worlds uranium. But production wound down, and the last of the mines, Stanleigh, closed in 1996.
The former mining town had to diversify to keep itself afloat. One of its most successful ventures involved creating a retirement living program that has attracted over 2,000 families from Canada, the United States and Europe.
Operations that were once closed are now being re-examined for the potential to restart production in northern Ontario. DENISON MINES of Toronto has received an independent review of historical resources at Elliot Lake, resources that may contain 205.0 million lb of U3O8. The report was prepared by SCOTT WILSON RPA.
The report puts the total mineralization at 169.7 million short tons grading 1.21 lb/ton U3O8 (153.9 million tonnes at 0.05% U3O8). The resources are split equally between developed and undeveloped areas. Denison is quick to remind readers that these are historical numbers and do not comply with NI 43-101 standards.
As I wrote on June 13, the high uranium price makes even properties with exhausted reserves worth a second look and undeveloped regions worthy of examination.
Whether or not Elliot Lake rejoins the ranks of Canadian uranium producers is highly speculative. Whether the retirees attracted to the city by low housing prices want to see uranium mining redeveloped might be an easier call; I would expect their collective opinion is No.
I wonder if CMJ readers have an opinion on whether uranium mining will or should return to Elliot Lake.