McARTHUR RIVER, Sask. An exceptional inflow of water at the McArthur River mine forced the evacuation of all mine personnel on April 6. No injuries occurred.
Mine operator CAMECO said in a conference call the following day that up to 600 m3/h was entering via a development drift. Extra pumps were pressed into service and the water treatment plant will be modified to handle the additional volume. Production has been temporarily suspended. It will take about two weeks to build a concrete bulkhead and a further two months for it to cure and control the inflow through the drift.
Martin Quick, VP of mining, blamed poor ground conditions for causing the water problem. The area under development was an extension of the Zone 2 orebody, and “We will have to find a another way to get at that ore,” he added. The ore block affected contains about 30-35 million pounds of uranium.
When mining will resume has yet to be determined. Cameco can continue to supply its customers from its worldwide yellowcake inventory. See also Cameco.