Mining Innovations at McArthur River Operation
CIM Montreal 2011
David Bronkhorst, Greg Murdock , Kevin Quesnel,
McArthur River Operation is the world’s largest high grade uranium deposit and is located in Northern Saskatchewan. McArthur River came into production in December 1999 with a number of innovative technologies to allow for mining of a high grade uranium deposit in challenging geotechnical and hydrological conditions. The raisebore mining method has been supplemented by the continued development of a boxhole mining technique to allow for mining of mineralization that cannot be accessed with a drill chamber from above. An innovative freeze wall re-design – a cathedral freeze wall, was implemented in 2009 to allow for top access of a new orebody in the unconformity area of the Athabasca Sandstone. This paper highlights many of the ongoing improvements to the mining method and the innovative risk mitigation applied to manage the extraction of this challenging orebody.