The Cigar Lake project - Mining, ore handling and milling

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 97, No. 1078, 2004

C.R. Edwards

The Cigar Lake project will develop the world’s second largest high-grade uranium deposit. The Cigar Lake Phase 1 orebody contains approximately 226 million pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 20.7% U3O8. The mine, to be operated by Cameco Corporation, will use a unique water jet boring mining method to cut previously frozen ore. A distinctive ore handling design is required to handle the highgrade ore slurry exiting the mining machines. The ore will be crushed and ground underground, with the ore slurry then pumped to surface. Loaded into purpose-designed containers on tractor-trailer units, the ore slurry will be trucked to Cogema Resources Incorporated’s McClean Lake mill. McClean Lake will leach all of the ore. Forty-three percent of the resulting uranium solution will remain at McClean Lake for processing into yellowcake. The other 57% of the uranium solution will be shipped to Cameco’s Rabbit Lake mill for processing into yellowcake there. Detailed design for the Cigar Lake project is now underway. Barring regulatory or market delays, production could start up as soon as early 2006.
Mots Clés: Uranium, Jet boring, Milling, Grinding, Classification, Leaching, Solvent extraction, Radiation protection.