Canadian Mining Journal

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URANIUM: Cigar Lake reaches commercial production

SASKATCHEWAN – Commercial production at the Cigar Lake uranium mine in the Athabasca Basin officially began on May 1, 2015. The mine is a partnership of Cameco (50.025%), AREVA Resources Canada (AREVA) (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources...



SASKATCHEWAN – Commercial production at the Cigar Lake uranium mine in the Athabasca Basin officially began on May 1, 2015. The mine is a partnership of Cameco (50.025%), AREVA Resources Canada (AREVA) (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%) and TEPCO Resources (5.0%) and is operated by Cameco.

Mining at Cigar Lake began in March 2014, and the first packaged uranium concentrate was available in October 2014. The operation remains on track to achieve in 2015 the annual production target of 6 million to 8 million packaged pounds (100% basis). Cameco expects Cigar Lake to ramp up to its full annual rate of 18 million lb by 2018. The mine employs more than 600 highly skilled workers, with the majority being residents of Saskatchewan’s north.

Cameco developed a method of jet boring to recover ore that averages 17.8% U3O8 and reduce underground employees’ exposure to radiation. Development was delayed when the project flooded in 2006. Stopping the inflow and dewatering the workings cost the partners $102 million. It was not until Feb 2010 that development could be restarted. Cigar Lake ore is processed at the McClean Lake mill.

The Cigar Lake mine will produced between 3 million and 4 million lb of uranium oxide in 2015. Click here for more information.