SASKATCHEWAN - Calling it at first a "construction setback" CAMECO CORP. of Saskatoon, announced the flooding of its Cigar Lake underground uranium development beginning on Oct. 22. The project located in the Athabasca Basin is extremely high grade (19% U3O8), and that necessitates exceptional mining methods (see CMJ, February 2006). The project was in the test mining stage when the flooding occurred.
Cameco said the problem began early in the afternoon on Sunday, and by that evening it decided to close two bulkhead doors to contain the water and protect the main shaft, future processing area, pumps, refuge station and heat exchanger. But by noon on Monday all personnel were safely evacuated as one of the doors failed to seal properly and water filled the workings. A rockfall is the suspected trigger for the flood.
Initially the company thought the 2008 production date would be pushed back into the next year. Now Cameco must investigate options to restore access to the mine and create a new production timetable. News releases and further information about Cigar Lake are posted at www.Cameco.com.