French group Areva has started processing ore mined from one of the world's largest uranium mines, Cigar Lake, at its McClean Lake mill in Saskatchewan province, Canada.
McClean Lake mill is located 70km from the $2.4bn Cigar Lake mine, which is 50%-owned by Cameco, 37.1% by Areva, 7.875% by Idemitsu and 5% by Tepco Resources.
The mill was idled in 2010 and has since been undergoing modifications to allow it to process ore from the Cigar Lake uranium mine.
Operated by Areva, the mill is 70%-owned by Areva Resources Canada, 22.5% by Denison Mines and 7.5% by OURD Canada. With an annual production capacity of 10,900t of uranium, the mill is expected to produce 770t to 1,100t of uranium concentrate from Cigar Lake over the year.
Areva said in a statement: "The McClean Lake mill is the only facility in the world designed to process high-grade uranium ore without dilution."
The mill will produce 18 million pounds a year from 2018 after Cigar Lake mine, which started production in March this year, reaches full capacity.
Areva mining business group senior executive vice-president Olivier Wantz said: "The start of production at the McClean Lake mill represents a strategic investment for Areva's mining business and illustrates the quality of our partnership with Canada.
"With McClean Lake mill in operation, Areva is creating jobs and offering business opportunities in Saskatchewan."
Image: A bird's eye view of the McClean Lake mill in the Saskatchewan province in Canada. Photo: courtesy of Areva.