Cameco reported in mid-July that ground freezing at the Cigar Lake uranium mine project in northern Saskatchewan was not advancing as quickly as expected in some localized areas of the mine. As a result, mining, which is based on a jet-boring mining method, was temporarily halted.
"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 additional freezing will allow more continuous production at the mine once the mill is operational," the Cameco statement said.
Based on early indications, Cameco expected the Cigar Lake production schedule to be shifted by about two months, meaning that milling of ore expected at the end of 2014 will shift into early 2015. The company's long-term production target of 18 million lb/y of U3O8 by 2018 will not be impacted by the delay.
The Cigar Lake project is operated by Cameco and is owned by Cameco (50.025%), Areva (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%), and Tepco Resources (5.0%). Ore from Cigar Lake will be processed at the McClean Lake mill, which is majority owned and operated by Areva.