Marty Wacker, P.Eng
||Marty Wacker graduated in mechanical engineering in 1984 from the University of Saskatchewan and spent seven years in product development and manufacturing for several companies. Products included golf simulators, Canadian frigate components, and crushing and screening plants for quarries.
Marty joined the mining industry in 1991 and spent 22 years developing the Cigar Lake mining method including ground freezing and water jet mining. He also coordinated the design and construction of a TBM, hoist, headframe, freeze plant and batch plant. For seven years, he held roles of Maintenance Superintendent and Technical Superintendent, building up departments prior to production.
For the last three years, Marty has been Principal Engineer in Cameco’s corporate ground freezing department, providing support for Cigar Lake and other sites.
Marty has ten engineers in his extended family and two daughters in university; one in engineering and one working towards med school.
Cigar Lake Jet Boring Mining Method Development
Cameco Corporation, on behalf of a joint venture, is finally operating the Cigar Lake high-grade uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan, after 25 years of test mining, construction, and flood remediation.
The Cigar Lake orebody is situated 430 metres below surface at the unconformity between metamorphic basement rocks and flat lying sandstone. Major technical factors influencing the mining method selection include ground stability, control of ground water, radiation exposure and ore handling and storage. A ten year test mine program resulted in the selection and validation of “jet boring”, a non-entry mining method.
Cigar Lake’s jet boring mining method involves several major steps; artificial ground freezing of the orebody and surrounding rock, NATM development of access crosscuts below the orebody, installation of cased pilot holes upwards through the ore, and ore extraction using a rotating high pressure water jet within the pilot holes. The resulting cavities are surveyed and backfilled with concrete. The ore slurry is processed underground, pumped to surface and trucked to Areva’s McLean Lake mill.
The presentation includes highlights of the mining method development, flood remediation and the first two years of production.