DESIGN, COMMISSIONING, OPERATION AND RAMP-UP OF THE CIGAR LAKE URANIUM MINE

CIM Vancouver 2016
Mr Jason Gogal (Senior Metallurgist - Cameco Corporation), Mr Ken Dyck (Senior Metallurgist - AMEC Foster Wheeler), Mr Majid Davoodi (Senior Metallurgist - Cameco Corporation), Mr Sebastian Humphrey (Metallurgist - Cameco Corporation), Mr Thomas Byrne (Jr Metallurgist - Cameco Corporation)
DESIGN, COMMISSIONING, OPERATION AND RAMP-UP OF THE CIGAR LAKE URANIUM MINE

M. Davoodi1, K. Dyck2, J. Gogal1, S. Humphrey1, T. Byrne1

1 Cameco Corporation, Cigar Lake Operation; 2121 – 11th Street West, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. S7M 1J3.
2 AMEC Foster Wheeler; 301-121 Research Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. S7N 1K2.

ABSTRACT

The Cigar Lake (CL) Uranium Mine is an underground mine located near Waterbury Lake, approximately 660 km north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The ultimate mine production target is 18 M lbs U3O8/year. The average ore grade is17.9 %U3O8. Cigar Lake Mine is owned 50% by Cameco Corporation (the operator), 37% by AREVA Resources Canada Inc., 8% by Idemitsu Resources Canada Inc. and 5% by Tepco Resources Inc.

Cigar Lake began first production during the last quarter of 2013. Construction of the mine, water treatment plants, ore freeze plants and other processing facilities had started years prior to this, but commercial and technical difficulties (water inflows during shaft construction and mine development) prevented an earlier start-up. During 2014 and 2015, process operation ramp-up and stage 4 commissioning (performance testing of the integrated process systems) were completed. The mine officially began commercial production in April 2015.

At Cigar Lake, ore is mined using a jet boring system (JBS). Ore is then crushed, ground, thickened and pumped to surface as slurry. The slurry is stored on surface before it is loaded into specially designed containers and transported 70 km to the McClean Lake Mill for further processing into yellowcake.

Processing ore at Cigar Lake has proven to be one of the most challenging practices in mineral processing industry. The unique mining method, very high uranium ore grade, high clay content in the ore and the impact of water issues on the process flowsheet and JBS mining are very challenging.

This paper outlines the design and commissioning phases as well as first couple of month’s operational activities during the ramp-up at the CL uranium mine.

KEYWORDS
Cigar Lake, uranium, design, commissioning, ramp-up
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