Areva Resources Canada and Cameco announced in early October that the McClean Lake mill had begun producing uranium concentrate from the high-grade Cigar Lake mine in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. The McClean Lake mill is owned by Areva (70%), Denison Mines (22.5%), and OURD Canada (7.5%), and is operated by Areva. The Cigar Lake mine is owned by Cameco (50.025%), Areva (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada (7.875%), and TEPCO Resources (5%), and is operated by Cameco.
The mill is located about 70 km northeast of mine. Areva recently completed modifications to the mill required to process the high-grade Cigar Lake ore.
Cameco mines the Cigar Lake orebody using a jet-boring mining method operated from tunnels in the basement rock below the orebody. Mined ore is ground and thickened in underground processing circuits and pumped to the surface as a slurry. At the surface, the slurry is loaded into special containers and transported by truck to the McClean Lake mill for processing.
As of early October, Cameco had delivered about 1,400 metric tons (mt) of ore to the mill.
Mining began at Cigar Lake in March, but was suspended in July to allow the orebody to freeze more thoroughly. Mining resumed in the first week of September, and ore deliveries to
McClean Lake are now ongoing. The mill is expected to produce up to 1 million lb of uranium concentrate from Cigar Lake ore in 2014 and to ramp up to its full production rate of 18 million lb/y by 2018.