Cameco halts work at Cigar Lake uranium mine in Saskatchewan, Canada

16 July 2014 (Last Updated July 16th, 2014 18:30)

Cameco has temporarily suspended works at its Cigar Lake uranium mine in Saskatchewan region of Canada, as the ground has not frozen enough to continue drilling operations.

Cameco

Cameco has temporarily suspended works at its Cigar Lake uranium mine in Saskatchewan region of Canada, as the ground has not frozen enough to continue drilling operations.

The company said that the ground freezing has not advanced in the way it was expected to.

Cameco is freezing the ore zone and the surrounding grounds with a brine solution in order to prevent water seepage into production areas of the mine.

Following an assessment, the company has stopped jet boring activity at the mine to allow sufficient freezing of ground.

The company said: "Given that the McClean Lake mill has not yet started processing Cigar Lake ore, we have decided to temporarily stop jet-boring at Cigar Lake to allow the ore body to freeze more thoroughly in these areas."

The uranium ore will be processed at the nearby McClean Lake mill, which is undergoing modifications.

The mine will not undertake milling operations until early 2015, which could lower its current 2014 ore production target of two million to three million pounds.

"As the ground becomes more stable, with additional freezing, it just makes it a more safe and secure environment."

However, the long-term annual production target of 18 million pounds of uranium ore by 2018 will not be impacted by the delay, Cameco said in a statement.

The Cigar Lake uranium deposit has depths ranging from 410m to 450m below the surface where water seeps through the underlying basement rocks.

Cameco spokesman Rob Gereghty was quoted by CJME as saying: "As the ground becomes more stable, with additional freezing, it just makes it a more safe and secure environment."

Ore production at the Cigar Lake mine was originally scheduled to commence in 2007 but was delayed until March 2014 due to flooding.

The Cigar Lake mine is 50% owned by Cameco, 37% by Areva Resources Canada, 8% by Idemitsu Canada Resources and 5% by Tepco Resources.

The mine is operated by Cameco while the McClean Lake mill will be owned and operated by Areva.


Image: The Cigar Lake Mine is located in the uranium-rich Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Photo: public domain.

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