SASKATCHEWAN - The McClean Lake joint venture partners (AREVA RESOURCES CANADA 70%, DENISON MINES 22.5% and OURD CANADA 7.5%) have announced plans to suspend further jet boring at the McClean North uranium deposit. Instead they will seek approvals and permits to place the deposit into production using more conventional underground methods.
Conventional methods have an advantage over jet boring because a higher grade of ore can be recovered. The continuing high price of uranium (US$125/lb) makes the higher costs associated with underground mining less of a concern.
The environmental assessment on underground mining at McClean North has been approved, so development and mining could commence as soon as the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has approved the mine plan. The McClean North deposit has an indicated resource estimate of 11.48 million pounds at a grade of 2.80% U3O8. Ore from McClean North could be available for milling as early as 2009.
Areva expects that the mining of the Sue E pit will be completed this year and will begin stripping the Sue B deposit this summer, with mining scheduled for completion in 2008.
An environmental assessment for the mining of the Caribou deposit is expected to be filed with the regulatory authorities before the end of the year. Midwest is continuing through the approval process with ore production scheduled for 2011.
The 2007 budget at McClean Lake calls for the production of 1.8 million lb of U3O8 rather than the previously estimated 2.2 million to 3.0 million lb. Production levels at McClean are expected to steadily increase, reaching about 9.0 million pounds per year by 2011 when Midwest is in production and another mill expansion is completed.
The most detailed information about the McClean Lake uranium mine is posted at www.DenisonMines.com.