Cigar Lake Mine

Cigar Lake Aerial (Cameco photo)

Peter Koven of the Financial Post reminds us why he is one of the best mining reporters, distilling Cameco’s Cigar Lake uranium mine, one of the most complicated and significant mining operations on earth, down to a succinct 61 second video. Watch it over at FP’s site, or read the transcription below.

“The cigar lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan may be the most challenging and most complex mining development anywhere in the world. It took Cameco almost a decade to build the mine, which was delayed by two flooding incidents in 2006 and 2008. The ground conditions are extremely poor, so in order to access the ore, Cameco implemented a new mining method called “jet boring.” First the deposit is frozen, then Cameco drills into it from underneath using the jet boring system. It bores through the rock with ultra high pressure jets of water which move at 1600 kilometres per hour. A slurry of ore and water is sucked down into the tunnel. It’s broken up underground and pumped back up to the surface before being shipped to a nearby mill for processing. Cigar Lake has a very small footprint, but it’s incredibly rich, with grades that are about 100 times the world average for uranium mines. WIth production expected to reach 18 million pounds per year, it will be a game changer in the uranium industry for decades to come, as long as there aren’t any more floods. Peter Koven, Financial Post.”

Source: Video: The inside story on Cameco’s game-changing uranium mine at Cigar Lake