McClean Lake tailings expansion okayed by CNSC

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has granted permission to expand the McClean Lake tailings management facility (TMF), Orano Canada and Denison […]
The McClean Lake mill in Saskatchewan. Credit: Orano Canada

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has granted permission to expand the McClean Lake tailings management facility (TMF), Orano Canada and Denison Mines (TSX: DML; HYSE: DNN) have reported. The uranium mine, mill and TMF are located within the eastern part of the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan.

The public hearing on the application to amend the current mine and mill licence was held last October. Submissions were received from Orano, CNSC staff, Denison Mines, and Cameco (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ), with interventions from the English River First Nation, the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, and the Athabasca Joint Engagement and Environmental Subcommittee, among others. The amended licence is valid until June 30, 2027.

The McClean Lake mill has a licenced capacity of 24 million lb. uranium oxide annually. The plant treats ore from Cameco's Cigar Lake mine under a toll million agreement of up to 18 million lb. uranium oxide each year. The mill is owned 22.5% by Denison and 77.5% by the operator Orano Canada.

Denison projects

Denison is considering the use of the McClean Lake mill as a regional treatment for uranium ore from the Gryphon deposit on its 95% owned Wheeler River and the The Heldeth Tue (THT) deposit (formerly J zone) at Denison’s 67% owned Waterbury Lake property.

A feasibility study for Wheeler River is under way. The pre-feasibility study for the project suggests it would cost $623 million to develop the deposit with a production rate of 7.6 million lb. uranium oxide annually over a mine life of 6.5 years. The PFS for the Phoenix deposit, also at Wheeler River, estimated capex at $322.5 million for a mine with a 10-year life and output of 59.7 million lb. uranium oxide annually.

The Waterbury Lake PFS makes a capex estimate of $112 million to create a mine that supplies 1.6 million lb. uranium oxide yearly with about a six-year life.

Details about Denison’s projects are available at www.DenisonMines.com.

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