Midwest Joint Venture high-grade uranium mining — underground

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 85, No. 960, 1992

H.K. Fredrickson, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Midwest Joint Venture (MJV) owns a high-grade uranium deposit in northern Saskatchewan. The deposit is located too deep below surface to be mined economically by open pit methods, and as a consequence, present plans are that it will be mined by underground methods. High-grade uranium ore of the type at MJV, encased in weak, highly altered ground and with radon-rich water inflows, has not before been mined by underground methods. The test mining phase of the project, completed in 1989, had three objectives: 1. to evaluate radiation protection requirements associated with the handling of large quantities of radon-rich water and mining high-grade uranium ore in an underground environment; 2. to investigate the quantity and quality of water inflows into the mine; and 3. to investigate ground conditions in and around the ore zone as an aid in determining the production mining method to be used. With information gained from the test mining project, a mining method for the production mine has been devised. Level plans have been drawn up, ventilation system designed, pumping arrangements made and methods of ore handling considered. All this is to be done in a manner that will be safe for those doing the work underground. Some of the mining methods planned are felt to be unique in that they are designed to cope with mining problems not known to have been encountered before. New problems underground have required new methods to handle them. Remote drilling, blasting, mucking and backfilling form the basis of the planned mining method.
Keywords: Underground mining, Uranium mining, Saskatchewan, Mining methods, Midwest Joint Venture.