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Cigar Lake Mine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cigar Lake Mine
Cigar Lake Mine is located in Saskatchewan
Cigar Lake Mine
Cigar Lake Mine
Location in Saskatchewan
LocationAthabasca Basin
Coordinates58°04′07″N 104°32′26″W / 58.06861°N 104.54056°W / 58.06861; -104.54056
Productstriuranium octoxide (U
Production4,600 t (10,100,000 lb)[1]
Financial year2020
Company Edit this at Wikidata
Cutaway diagram of the Cigar Lake uranium deposit, showing the layers of rock surrounding the uranium ore.
Cutaway diagram of the Cigar Lake uranium deposit, showing the layers of rock surrounding the uranium ore.

The Cigar Lake Mine is a large high-grade underground uranium mine, located in the uranium-rich Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan, Canada, at the south-west corner of Waterbury Lake.[2] The deposit, discovered in 1981, is second in size of high-grade deposits only to the nearby McArthur River mine. Other deposits, such as Olympic Dam in Australia, contain more uranium but at lower grades.[3]

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Full-scale construction began in 2005 with production originally planned for 2007, but the mine experienced a catastrophic water inflow in October 2006, which flooded the mine. A second inflow occurred in 2008 during the first attempt at dewatering the mine after sealing the initial inflow. Remediation efforts continued, and re-entry was successfully accomplished in 2010. Production was delayed several times with the startup dates being announced for 2011,[4] 2013,[5] and 2014.[6]

On March 13, 2014, ore production began at the mine, with the mining system and underground processing circuits operational and uranium ore transported to the McClean Lake mill operated by AREVA Resources Canada Inc. located 70 km (43 mi) northeast of the minesite.[7]

The deposit is located at depth of 450 m (1,480 ft), surrounded by and isolated within a layer of water-impermeable illite-chlorite clay, within the Athabasca Sandstone formation. Its age is estimated to be 1.3 billion years.[8] Due to natural containment and lack of any traces of radioactive elements on the surface, the deposit is used as an example of an effective natural deep geological repository.[9]

During 2020, production was temporarily suspended over two periods due to the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic: from March until September; and then from 14 December 2020. Production at Orano's McClean Lake uranium mill, which processes the ore from the Cigar Lake mine, was also suspended.[10][11]

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission took regulatory action against owners Cameco Corporation in October 2022 due to the volume of waste material placed on waste pile C.[12]

Reserves and resources

As of 31 December 2020, Cigar Lake had proven and probable reserves of 75,100 tonnes (165.5 million pounds) of triuranium octoxide (U
) at an average grade of 15.92%, for 75,070 tonnes of U
, and a measured and indicated resource of 47,500 tonnes (104.7 million pounds) of U
at an average grade of 13.88%, for 47,514 tonnes of U


The mine[13] is owned by Cameco Corporation (50.025%), AREVA Resources Canada Inc (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources Ltd. (7.875%), and TEPCO Resources Inc. (5%). Cameco is the project operator.[1]

Wolf attacks

In 2005, a worker was killed by wolves at Points North Landing, near Cameco's Rabbit Lake mine.[14]

On August 29, 2016, a 26-year-old shift worker walking between buildings at the Cigar Lake mine on his midnight break was attacked and mauled by a lone timber wolf. A nearby security guard frightened the wolf away, administered first aid, and called for an air ambulance which airlifted him 675 km (419 mi) to a hospital in Saskatoon where he recovered. After the attack, authorities ordered that area wolves be shot, that food disposal systems and fencing be inspected, and that staff be educated.[15][16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Management's discussion and analysis" (PDF). Saskatoon, Canada: Cameco Corporation. 10 February 2021. p. 71. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  2. ^ Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada. "Place names - Waterbury Lake".
  3. ^[bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ "Cigar Lake floods again". Nuclear Engineering International. August 22, 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  5. ^ Bosker, Brent (March 2, 2012). "Cameco revises timeline for Cigar Lake". Rawlco Communications. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  6. ^ "Cameco to miss 2013 target for Cigar Lake uranium project due to startup delays". The StarPhoenix. Postmedia Network. The Canadian Press. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
  7. ^ "Cameco Announces Start of Ore Production at Cigar Lake Mine". Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  8. ^ "Athabasca Basin - Cigar Lake". PorterGeo Database. Linden Park, South Australia: Porter GeoConsultancy. 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Ensuring Safety: Multiple-Barrier System". Nuclear Waste Management Organization. 2015. Archived from the original on 2017-06-15.
  10. ^ Basov, Vladimir Basov (7 December 2020). "Mining Cameco reports second positive COVID-19 case at Cigar Lake". Kitco News. Montreal. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Cigar Lake to enter second COVID-related suspension". World Nuclear News. 14 December 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Order issued to Cameco Corporation, Cigar Lake". 2022-11-07. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  13. ^ Arsenault, Julien (31 August 2016). "Worker at Saskatchewan uranium mine attacked by wolf". Canadian Manufacturing. Toronto, Ontario. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  14. ^ Hopper, Tristin (14 September 2016). "'They are absolutely huge:' Wolves attack in Northern Saskatchewan as animals lose fear of humans". National Post. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  15. ^ Senick, Joel (31 August 2016). "Man in hospital after wolf attack at northern Saskatchewan mine". Global News. Toronto, Canada. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  16. ^ Wolf expert says human habituation likely reason for Cigar Lake attack

External links

This page was last edited on 23 January 2023, at 21:23
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