SASKATCHEWAN – Saskatoon-based Cameco Corp., operator of the long delayed Cigar Lake uranium mine, says construction is 97% complete and commissioning of the mining systems is well advanced. The first ore will be produced in Q1 2014. When commissioning the underground ore handling system, Cameco said that it discovered more work will have to be done on it, and jet boring in ore will be delayed.
Additional modifications to the McClean Lake uranium mill, where Cigar Lake ore will be treated, are also underway. The mill is expected to being processing Cigar Lake ore in Q2 2014.
Cigar Lake was billed as the world’s largest undeveloped uranium resource, and a 2005 start-up date chosen. Soft uranium prices forced the start of construction back to 2005 with a 2007 start-up date. But in October 2006, the $520-million project was flooded. The pair of bulkhead doors meant to contain the water failed to close completely, and the project was halted. Cameco put the cost of remediating the problem at over $100 million. It wasn’t until near the end of 2007 that the inflow of water was stopped, and dewatering began in the summer of 2008. Once the shaft was refurbished, crews re-entered the main working level in February 2010. By October the mine was secured, and development could resume.
The Cigar Lake project is owned 50% by Cameco, 37% by Areva, 8% by Idemitsu Canada Resources, and 5% by Tepco Canada.
Detailed information about Cigar Lake is posted at Cameco.com.