Cigar Lake (Canada)

Uranium Mine

Facilities in Cigar Lake

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Cigar LakeUranium mine

Canada: Pumping stated at Cigar Lake.

The uranium mine, which should be the biggest in the world when it enters operation, was flooded by a rockfall in October 2006. Groundwater rapidly entered the mine tunnels but was not held back by bulkhead doors as had been planned for such an emergency situation. Personnel evacuated and after some hours the water had completely filled the mine, causing what is likely to be a two-year delay costing around C$92 million (US 91m or 57m euro). Cameco announced earlier this year that its operations to isolate the source of the groundwater with a concrete plug had been successful and it had been able to reduce the water level to 100 meters below the surface. The entire mine is 465 meters deep. The company´s plans to pump out all the water that fills the mine and inspect the mine afterwards have been approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Saskatchewan provincial government. After the pumping operation began early July, Cameco should be able to begin work towards equipping the mine with a ladderway, ventilation ducting and power oand Cameco is the operator of the mine and leads the entire project with a stake of 50%. The other stakeholders are Areva Resources Canada (37%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (8%) and Tepco Resources (5%). "2011 at the earliest" remains the estimated start-up date for the 7000 ton per year uranium mine.


Federal panel hearings took place as part of a process to review environmental and other implications of the two Canadian mining projects at McArthur River and Cigar Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. The two mines are the largest high-grade uranium deposits in the world.The Cameco Corporation which holds the majority interest in both ventures, says that, if they are approved, commercial production could begin in 1999.