McLean Lake mill output increase approved
1 Jun 2016
Watchdog OKs output boost to McLean Lake mill
The Cigar Lake uranium mine has cleared an important regulatory hurdle, meaning the new northern Saskatchewan operation is on track to produce 16-million pounds of packaged yellowcake this year.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission this week authorized an expansion to 24 million pounds from 13 million pounds at Areva Resources Canada Inc.’s McLean Lake mill, where Cigar Lake uranium is processed and packaged.
Cameco Corp., which operates the mine and owns 50 per cent of it, said in a news release that the nuclear watchdog’s decision means it can meet its 2016 production target — of which its share is eight million pounds — with full production of 18 million pounds expected in 2017.
Located about 70 kilometres from Cigar Lake, Areva’s McLean Lake mill recently underwent a multimillion-dollar expansion. The company said in a news release that the production increase will make it the world’s second-largest uranium production facility.
“The McLean Lake mill is the most technologically advanced mill in the world for the processing of high-grade uranium ore,” Olivier Wantz, senior vice-president of Areva’s mining-front end business group, said in a statement.
In April, Cameco closed its Rabbit Lake mine in response to weak uranium prices. The company has said it plans to concentrate on its lower-cost mines, including Cigar Lake.