Uranium company Cameco and Orano Canada have agreed to acquire a 7.875% interest in the Cigar Lake Cigar Lake joint venture (JV), which owns the Cigar Lake mine in Canada, from Idemitsu Canada Resources.

Upon completion of the deal, Cameco’s stake in what it claims to be the world’s largest uranium mine will increase to 54.547%.

Orano’s share in the producing uranium mine will rise to 40.453% while TEPCO Resources will retain its 5% holding.

As part of the deal, Cameco will acquire its stake in the Cigar Lake mine from Idemitsu for approximately $82.2m (C$107m) while Orano Canada will purchase the stake for around $61.4m (C$80m).

Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel said: “As the world’s largest high-grade uranium mine, Cigar Lake is quite simply one of the best and most prolific uranium-producing assets on the planet.”

The transaction, which is pending regulatory nod and standard closing conditions, is planned for completion in the second quarter of 2022.

Orano Canada president and CEO Jim Corman. “As the original discoverer of the deposit in the early 1980s, we know the asset very well and are committed to continue working in co-operation with our partners on ensuring the continued success of the mine and our tandem operation, the McClean Lake mill.”

Orano Mining president Nicolas Maes said: “Canada is an essential asset in our strategy to diversify our production which is even more important today to guarantee our customers a security of supply in the long term.”

The Cigar Lake mine is expected to produce 15 million pounds (Mlb) of uranium concentrate (U3O8) on a 100% basis, as per the 2022 production outlook.

According to estimates, the mine has proven and probable reserves of 152.4Mlb of U3O8 measured and indicated resources of around 103.7Mlb, and inferred resources of 22.9Mlb.